Ahad, 30 Jun 2013

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Why Ivy League and Oxbridge graduates do not crowd around the PM and the ministers

Posted: 30 Jun 2013 12:18 PM PDT


The Melayu with Ivy League degrees and education are so small in numbers; and most of them are not functioning fully; because they know if they try to be too smart, they will end up stepping on the toes and feet of their superiors, who have eaten more 'salt' then them.


Mansor Puteh


Permata Pintar was established in order to encourage young Malaysians to study hard so they could end up being admitted into any of the ten Ivy League and Oxbridge universities in America and Britain, respectively. But can they be sure of this happening?

The Melayu leaders were mighty proud when Safiah got admitted into Oxford University at the age of thirteen to study mathematics.


The British press too gave her wide coverage.


They marveled at her achievement, despite her being British with her mother a Melayu from Malaysia.


Yet, none of the Melayu leaders or their wives, had ever bothered to ask themselves what they could do with Safiah, if they could offer her a scholarship that could compel her to come to Malaysia to work.

They did not know what to do with her.


In fact, even Britain did not know what to do with her, and for that matter Oxford also did not know what else they could do with her other than to offer her a place to study there.

And the so-called Oxford Center of Islamic Studies of OCIS also did not care.


So what was the point for Oxford to offer her a place to study there and for the British press to give her wide coverage, and the creation of OCIS?


The Melayu in Malaysia had not even bothered to invite her to come to Kuala Lumpur to appear in forums.

The Umno and Melayu leaders went to England but did not meet her because they had come with the wrong intention, of getting publicity for themselves and not to offer her a scholarship or post upon graduation from Oxford, so she could pursue her master's degree and doctorate elsewhere perhaps in Oxford or Harvard.


So in the end, Safiah faltered and disappeared after dropping out of Oxford, in an almost dramatic way, feeding some news in the media in England for a while for doing something which shocked many in Malaysia.


Only then Umno leaders sprang to their feet to try and persuade her.


But no one knows what Umno and the Melayu leaders wanted her for.


They did not offer her any post in any government ministry or agency or at the university, so they could not create a Safiah that would suit the needs of the Malaysian government.


Yet, at the same time Permata Pintar was established; and so far they have got some hundreds of young students to study together.

Didn't they know geniuses do not crowd in the same classroom; they are on their own most of the time.


Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, George Lucas, Albert Einstein and the other geniuses of recent times did not know each other; they went on their own trek into the unknown to bring back goodies for which the world now benefits from.


If they were discovered early in their lives and flocked together in a classroom, chances are they would burn out, after being forced to perform before visiting dignitaries to please those who had brought them together.

And by the time they are older, chances are no Ivy League or Oxbridge university would ever want to accept them.

This will happen to the children in the Permata Pintar program.


And this is also the sad state of the Ivy Leaguers and Oxonians of Malaysia; none of whom are accepted with open arms by the government, so much so they do not crowd the Prime Minister's Department and all the ministries and government agencies.


In fact, Mara and JPA which offer scholarships and study loans to deserving Melayu students cannot be proud to have sent many of them to the ten universities.

The problem is that the Prime Minister's Department and all the ministries and agencies do not want to send any of their own staff to study in the ten most prestigious universities in the world, simply because they do not smart-asses in their midst.

The problem would happen if they choose some to study there, when they themselves had not bothered to study in these universities earlier when they were younger and were able to get the opportunity to do so.


So no wonder those who have studied in those universities on their own cannot and can never be accepted by the Malaysian government, despite them saying that Malaysians and especially the Melayu should strive to study hard and get into those universities.


Why is the Prime Minister's Department not crowded by those with impressive Ivy League and Oxbridge degrees of all specialization?

It is not difficult for the prime minister to insist on getting those with degrees from these universities and the other prestigious ones, if he himself believes in the value of education.


The Melayu with Ivy League degrees and education are so small in numbers; and most of them are not functioning fully; because they know if they try to be too smart, they will end up stepping on the toes and feet of their superiors, who have eaten more 'salt' then them.


And in Malaysia, the amount of 'salt' a person has eaten is more important than the level of education that he has.


So no wonder the logic and insistence on Malaysians to have Ivy League and Oxbridge education and backgrounds uttered by those in high office, can therefore be taken with a grain of salt.


It is too difficult too for anyone to ask the prime minister and the ministers just how many officers who crowd around them who have impressive academic backgrounds with education at any of the ten most prestigious universities in the world?


The answer is obvious; there is none in most of the ministries and government agencies.


And how many Melayu who had got admission into any of the Ivy League and Oxbridge universities that Mara had found expedient to reject his or her application for scholarship or study loan? 

Even the so-called 'education sections' of the local English language newspapers do not have a special spot for those with Ivy League and Oxbridge backgrounds; they only write on petty matters and issues concerning education and in general terms. 

Ohio city grinds to halt thanks to speed-camera debate

Posted: 30 Jun 2013 12:12 PM PDT


Judge Robert P. Ruehlman said the traffic cameras were a "sham," "scam" and the "entire case against the motorist is stacked."  

(Autoweek) - Who says issuing traffic citations is about upholding the law and not revenue generation? 

Ruehlman, a Hamilton County Common Pleas Court judge, cited a "total disregard for due process" in the way the village operated its program without offering ticketed motorists a legally fair method of contesting the citation.

Caught in a real-life "Gift of the Magi" conundrum, behold the tale of Elmwood Place, Ohio, which because of its pursuit of portable-speed-camera revenue can no longer perform the functions of local government. That's because four of the village's six council members resigned over the way these machines are used; without those four members, no quorum can be convened and no business can be conducted.

"The public is bewildered with what is going on," Village Councilman Jerald Robertson told foxnews.com. "There is a sense that they have no idea what we are doing." Which apparently is an astute observation.

"I have no idea what is going on with the council," he added.

The problem is the revenue generated: Nearly $2 million for the city, but in the process the speed cameras have -- like a sheepdog protecting its flock -- deterred visitors from coming to the quaint village. "Businesses have lost customers who now refuse to drive through Elmwood," Judge Robert P. Ruehlman explained in a March ruling. "Churches have lost members who are frightened to come to Elmwood and individuals who have received notices were harmed because they were unable to defend themselves against the charges brought against them."

Ruehlman, a Hamilton County Common Pleas Court judge, cited a "total disregard for due process" in the way the village operated its program without offering ticketed motorists a legally fair method of contesting the citation. While the judge had hoped his ruling would have prompted the city to stop its ticketing program, the city refused to do so. The city, which engaged the services of a company called Optotraffic to install the portable speed cameras last September, has enjoyed a great revenue windfall. Optotraffic issued $105 tickets and split revenue 60/40, with the city taking the lion's share. According to the city attorney, the Optotraffic speed cameras have generated almost $325,000 per month.

Read more at: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20130607/free/130609844#ixzz2XlAzf43o 


Rasis: Kali ini J.Solomon (NUBE) sedikit melampau

Posted: 30 Jun 2013 12:06 PM PDT


Solomon mendakwa kakitangan bernama Katherine Vimala a/p Aricasnin dari cawangan bank tersebut di Kulim yang dipecat sebagai satu-satunya kakitangan berbangsa India di wilayah utara itu. Kenyataan akhbar seperti ini amat tidak bertanggungjawab kerana beliau sebagai pejuang ahli dan kebenaran sewajarnya memeriksa fakta tersebut sebelum mengeluarkan kenyataan sebegini yang boleh mencetuskan pergeseran kaum sekiranya tidak dikawal.  

Shaharul Shafie

Saya terpanggil untuk menulis bagi menjawab artikel kenyataan akhbar berbahasa Inggeris yang dikeluarkan oleh Saudara Sandagran Solomon Joseph Pitchay atau lebih dikenali sebagai J.Solomon, Setiausaha Agung Kesatuan Pekerja Bank Kebangsaan (NUBE) yang bertarikh 26 Jun 2013 di laman Malaysia-Today.com.

Artikel tersebut di dalam Bahasa Inggerisnya bertajuk 'Bank Muamalat northern region's only Indian employee dismissed for not attending training on a rest dayatau dalam terjemahannya di dalam Bahasa Melayu adalah ' Satu-satunya pekerja berbangsa India di Bank Muamalat wilayah utara dipecat kerana tidak menghadiri kursus pada hari cuti beliau'.

Saya selaku pengguna dan bekas pegawai bank rasa terpanggil untuk berhujah fakta dengan saudara Solomon di atas dakwaan beliau mengenai pemecatan kakitangan berkenaan. Hujah dan nasihat saya di sini adalah bersifat peribadi berdasarkan pengamatan dan tidak mewakili mana-mana pihak termasuklah pihak Bank Muamalat Bhd.

Semua sedia maklum bahawa NUBE merupakan kesatuan sekerja yang ditubuhkan di bawah peruntukan utama Akta Kesatuan Sekerja 1959 untuk membela nasib dan kakitangan para kakitangan bawahan atau sokongan yang berkhidmat di bank-bank perdagangan. Sememangnya tidak dinafikan penubuhan NUBE pada tahun 1960 telah banyak membantu mempertingkatkan kedudukan kakitangan-kakitangan ini dan juga berjuang demi kelangsungan keadilan perkhidmatan perbankan di negara ini. Malah sejak negara dilanda pertentangan di peringkat politik nasional yang agak hebat, sepertimana dengan Kongres Kesatuan Sekerja Malaysia (MTUC) dan Majlis Peguam Malaysia, NUBE juga dilihat turut sama terjebak secara tidak langsung apabila dilihat lebih mendampingi parti-parti di bawah Pakatan Rakyat (PR) di dalam perjuangan mereka.

Namun begitu, adalah tidak menjadi suatu kesalahan untuk mendampingi mana-mana parti politik untuk mendapat rangsangan perjuangan tidak kira parti itu adalah pemerintah atau sebaliknya. Kesatuan Pekerja-pekerja Perkhidmatan Awam (CUEPACS) yang pada dasarnya memperjuangkan nasib dan kebajikan kakitangan awam peringkat bawahan dan sokongan tidak dapat lari dari menyokong parti pemerintah persekutuan. Namun begitu, kehadiran yang aktif CUEPACS dalam sedekad ini di bawah Presidennya, Datuk Omar Osman nyata bukan sahaja menguntungkan kakitangan awam kumpulan bawahan. Malah, kakitangan awam kumpulan professional dan atasan wajar mengucapkan ribuan terima kasih di atas usaha perjuangan CUEPACS yang secara tidak langsungnya juga menguntungkan semua kumpulan dalam perkhidmatan awam. Selain dari keperluan momentum kerajaan pemerintah yang mahu meraih sokongan undi kakitangan awam kepada mereka, adalah tidak dinafikan peranan CUEPACS jugalah membantu pegawai-pegawai berjawatan dari Ketua Setiausaha Negara (KSN) sehinggalah juga Pengarah (pelbagai pangkat Jusa) turut mengecapi kenaikan gaji, pelbagai pelarasan pendapatan dan kebajikan pekerja.

Namun sebagai pemerhati luar, saya melihat perjuangan NUBE sejak dahulu lagi lebih banyak bertindak sebagai suatu kubu yang dibina hanya untuk 'berperang' dengan pihak atau kumpulan lain dalam industri perbankan. Saya tidak berkata bahawa saya mahu NUBE membiarkan hidung mereka dicucuk pihak pengurusan tetapi saya lebih gusar dengan kaedah serangan mereka pada pihak pengurusan daripada memilih kaedah perbincangan yang berterusan. Saya tegaskan bahawa tidak salah NUBE berpiket atau mendesak mana-mana rancangan bank berkaitan pekerja mereka dibatalkan tetapi dari pemerhatian saya kaedah yang dilakukan oleh NUBE seperti mahu menumbangkan sesebuah bank dan seringkali mengelak berbincang mahupun untuk memperolehi maklumat yang tepat mengenai sesuatu perkara yang menimpa pada ahlinya untuk mencari jalan tengah penyelesaian terbaik.

Berbalik kepada kenyataan akhbar Saudara J Solomon tersebut, beliau secara terang menuduh pihak pengurusan Bank Muamalat di wilayah utara mengamalkan diskriminasi perkauman. Solomon mendakwa kakitangan bernama Katherine Vimala a/p Aricasnin dari cawangan bank tersebut di Kulim yang dipecat sebagai satu-satunya kakitangan berbangsa India di wilayah utara itu. Kenyataan akhbar seperti ini amat tidak bertanggungjawab kerana beliau sebagai pejuang ahli dan kebenaran sewajarnya memeriksa fakta tersebut sebelum mengeluarkan kenyataan sebegini yang boleh mencetuskan pergeseran kaum sekiranya tidak dikawal.  

Kita sedia maklum para pembaca kenyataan akhbar berkenaan semestinya memilih untuk percaya habis dengan dakwaan Solomon dan buktinya anda boleh membaca sendiri komen-komen menyokong kenyataan pertuduhan 'rasis' Solomon di dalam portal-portal Malaysia Today dan Malaysia Chronicle serta di Page Facebook Nube sendiri.

Saya mengikuti perjuangan NUBE sejak sedekad lalu dan hanya kali ini saya jelaskan Solomon bertindak agak melampau untuk meraih simpati pada NUBE dengan mencampuri elemen berbaur politik dengan cuba membabitkan isu perkauman. Kita sedar bahawa permainan isu rasis tidak terkawal ini amat berpengaruh dan mampu menjadi peluru bagi pertikaian politik nasional. Memandangkan hubungan NUBE yang baik dengan parti-parti PR, saya amat memohon agar pemimpin-pemimpin PR berhati-hati agar tidak terbawa-bawa dengan sentimen sebegini kerana jika silap maklumat atau silap mempertahankan pihak yang mendakwa, padahnya nanti pada imej parti-parti PR itu.

Saya melakukan beberapa panggilan dan lawatan ketika saya berada di utara Semenanjung Malaysia hujung minggu lalu. Apa yang saya lihat dan dimaklumkan dengan maklumat sahih bahawa Katherine yang dipecat itu bukannya satu-satunya pekerja bukan Melayu di bank tersebut di wilayah utara. Bank Muamalat di utara dilaporkan mempunyai 4 kakitangan kaum India dan 5 kakitangan kaum Cina. Malah di cawangan Bank Muamalat di Sungai Petani,Kedah, penolong pengurusnya adalah seorang berbangsa India sementara di cawangan Lebuh Pantai di Pulau Pinang pula penolong pengurusnya berbangsa Cina. Saya yakin dengan jumlah cawangan di wilayah utara yang sedikit bagi sebuah bank yang bersaiz kecil ini, jumlah kiraan nisbah 9 kakitangan bukan Melayu itu adalah berpatutan, lebih-lebih lagi di sebuah bank pengamal perbankan Islam. Oleh itu, kenyataan membabi buta Solomon ini telah menunjukkan beliau sebagai pemimpin kesatuan sekerja yang gagal mendapatkan maklumat sebenar dan sikap sebegini amat berbahaya kepada keharmonian rakyat yang berbilang kaum jika tidak dikawal. Dengan kehebatan media sosial menghebahkan perkara ini, kenyataan yang tidak bertanggungjawab ini boleh menggugat kesejahteraan dan amat menyedihkan jika faktanya tidak betul.

Dari apa yang dibicarakan oleh Solomon dalam kenyataan beliau, amat jelas bagi beliau hanya mendengar sebelah pihak dan saya yakin kesemua cerita yang diyakininya hanyalah yang diceritakan oleh Katherine. Di dalam kenyataan akhbarnya, Solomon mendakwa kakitangan India berkenaan dipecat kerana tidak hadir pada satu kursus. Kedengarannya di Bank Muamalat, kursus mengenai AMLA/CFT dan Shariah ini adalah wajib dihadiri setiap tahun dan ada khabaran mengatakan kakitangan dipecat ini tidak menghadirinya sejak tahun 2011. Untuk makluman, AMLA/CFT adalah kursus mengenai pencegahan pengubahan wang haram dan pembiayaan pengganas yang diwajibkan dihadiri bagi memberi pengetahuan dan mengingatkan kakitangan bank-bank perdagangan agar tidak terjebak dengan situasi berkenaan. Saya juga ada mendengar khabaran bahawa Katherine yakin beliau tidak bersalah kerana sudah mendapat kelulusan pada 12 Mac 2013 untuk bercuti pada 18 Mac 2013 meskipun kursus tersebut diadakan pada 16 Mac 2013 (Sabtu). Dengar khabarnya di dalam borang cuti berkenaan, kakitangan perlu memberitahu sebab mengambil cuti tetapi 'sebab' yang dinyatakan Katherine itu dikatakan tidak mencerminkan kehadiran beliau dalam Piket Jelajah NUBE di Kota Bharu yang diadakan pada 16hb-18hb Mac 2013.

Walau apapun khabar-khabarnya, sekiranya Katherine merasakan dirinya benar, gunakan saluran undang-undang bagi memperjuangkan nasib dirinya. Mungkin juga ada sebab lain yang menyebabkan pengurusan Bank Muamalat yakin untuk memecat Katherine. Oleh itu, sebagai pemimpin, Solomon wajarlah duduk semeja dengan pengurusan bank bagi mendapatkan keterangan mereka.Sekiranya selepas penjelasan berkenaan, Solomon yakin kakitangan berkenaan masih di pihak yang benar, gunalah saluran undang-undang untuk membela beliau.  Adalah  agak 'premature' bagi Solomon membuat kenyataan yang mempertahankan kakitangan berkenaan tanpa menasihati kakitangan tersebut menuruti proses dan rujukan perundangan sekiranya dirinya benar.

Mungkin juga Solomon berasa sakit hati apabila kakitangan tersebut dipecat dengan mengandaikan pemecatan itu dikaitkan dengan 'kemarahan' pihak bank kerana menghadiri program anjuran NUBE tersebut tetapi Solomon perlu tahu setiap kakitangan mana-mana bank perdagangan sekalipun tertakluk kepada peraturan-peraturan dan manual kakitangan yang sendiri ditandatangi oleh kakitangan yang memilih untuk bekerja asalkan tidak menyalahi peruntukan undang-undang berkaitan sumber manusia. Saya bimbang kerana sikap 'permusuhan' yang sentiasa ditunjukkan oleh Solomon pada pihak pengurusan dalam segala bentuk perjuangannya telah menyebabkan beliau mengandaikan keadaan sedemikian.Solomon dinasihatkan agar banyak menyelesaikan masalah dengan duduk semeja dan mendapatkan maklumat di pihak pengurusan agar tindakan NUBE selanjutnya dapat dilakukan dengan lebih berkesan dan adil.

Setiap yang berlaku pastinya mempunyai dua cerita yang berbeza. Bagi saya sebagai pengguna dan rakyat Malaysia yang cintakan perpaduan, kita perlu bertindak bijak, cerdik fakta dan lebih bertanggungjawab sekiranya mahu mendakwa apa-apa unsur perkauman di dalam apa sahaja perjuangan.

Sebagai pemimpin kanan kesatuan sekerja bank itu sejak 13 tahun, Solomon disarankan perlu bersikap progresif dan membina untuk masa depan kakitangan sokongan bank. Di dalam era pendidikan tinggi serta penggunaan sistem maklumat dalam sistem perbankan hari ini, keperluan kepada kakitangan sokongan di bank-bank telah menurun semakin mendadak demi survival bank-bank ini menghadapi dilemma globalisasi kewangan.

Demi menguruskan peruntukan sumber manusia dengan penuh berhemah, tidak dinafikan bank-bank pada hari ini lebih menumpukan pengambilan pekerja baru yang mempunyai ijazah yang berkualiti dan ini pastinya memberi kesan kepada NUBE yang semakin hari kehilangan jumlah sokongan kakitangan tanpa ijazah. Bukan itu sahaja, untuk kakitangan bawahan senior walaupun tanpa ijazah, dengan produktiviti mereka, mereka juga dinaikkan pangkat menjadi pegawai. Ini secara langsung menyebabkan keahlian kakitangan tersebut dengan NUBE tergugur.

Oleh itu, sebagai pemimpin NUBE yang sudah lama berkhidmat, saya sebagai bekas warga bank yakin Solomon sudah menyedari hakikat tersebut dan sudah sampainya untuk beliau mentransformasikan kerangka perjuangan yang lebih menyeluruh di masa hadapan untuk memastikan NUBE terus relevan dalam konteks keperluan perjuangan sumber manusia hari ini.


Shaharul adalah seorang perunding Sumber Manusia Strategik, Teknologi Sains Maklumat dan program pembangunan organisasi. Beliau juga kini melanjutkan pengajian di peringkat PhD di sebuah universiti terkemuka tempatan. Beliau juga merupakan pemimpin NGO antarabangsa, Armed for the Quill (AFTQ) yang berpusat di Oslo, Norway. Beliau adalah Ketua AFTQ bagi Asia Tenggara dan Timor Leste. Selain itu, beliau juga menulis beberapa artikel analisa perkembangan politik, sosial dan ekonomi yang diterbitkan di beberapa laman web dan media cetak. Beliau boleh dihubungi di rashidzack@yahoo.com


Start GST at a lower rate, say experts

Posted: 30 Jun 2013 11:42 AM PDT


(The Sun Daily) - Lai believes that businesses would welcome a reduction in corporate and personal tax rates as this would increase their competitiveness in Malaysia compared with the region. However, for individuals, it would only benefit less than 15% of the Malaysian workforce who currently pay income tax.

The proposed goods and services tax (GST) should be introduced at a lower rate of 4% to 5% in order to encourage wider public acceptance of it, said economists and tax consultants, even as a launch date remains elusive.

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah had last Thursday said the government has yet to decide when it will implement the GST.

"An initial GST rate of 7% (which is similar to Singapore's current rate) may be too high for Malaysia. At 7% GST, Malaysia may have to consider reducing its corporate and personal income tax rates to 20% or below," BDO Tax Services Sdn Bhd head of tax advisory David Lai told SunBiz in an interview.

He said Singapore was able to increase its GST rate to 7% from the initial 3% in 1993 as its corporate and personal income tax rates were already at 17% and 20% respectively.

"In order to encourage wider public acceptance in Malaysia, it may be prudent to introduce GST at a lower rate, for example, 4% to 5% and to reduce corporate tax and personal income tax rates more gradually," he said.

He reckoned that if GST were to be introduced at 4% to 5%, corporate and personal income tax should ideally be reduced by 2% to 3%.

Lai also said when the government indicated that it would start GST from a fixed rate of 4%, it would be tax neutral if it were implemented two years ago. But once implemented, GST revenue is expected to grow in line with the country's gross domestic product even if the rate were maintained at 4%.

However, any further delay in implementing GST would result in greater pressure for the government to increase the initial GST rate beyond 4%, he said.

"The government should ideally maintain the GST rate for at least three years before making any adjustments. Taxpayers should be given sufficient time to adapt and fully comply with the requirements under the new GST system.

"Furthermore, any increases in GST rate should only be contemplated after the government has properly studied any inflation effects. From the experience of other countries, any inflationary effects are expected to be short term and should taper off," he added.

Lai believes that businesses would welcome a reduction in corporate and personal tax rates as this would increase their competitiveness in Malaysia compared with the region.

However, for individuals, it would only benefit less than 15% of the Malaysian workforce who currently pay income tax.

On how a subsidy rationalisation programme would affect the implementation of GST, Lai said the programme is intended to gradually shift and target subsidies to the lower income groups. Similarly, when GST is implemented, a list of basic necessities would be categorised as 'zero rated' to protect the lower income group.

RAM Holdings Bhd group chief economist Dr Yeah Kim Leng also recommends a lower GST rate of 4% to 5% to start with in order to mitigate the initial concern over inflation.

"When implementing GST, you want to get the businesses and consumers familiar with and used to the system first to ensure that there is greater acceptance. You do not want to have a major shock in terms of price. It's good to start from a lower level and gradually move up," he toldSunBiz.

"This rate can be reviewed annually based on economic conditions."

Yeah said the government should take advantage of the current economic environment where there is growth, full employment and low benign inflation to introduce the GST.

"There can never be a good time to implement hard reforms but we can't ask for a better economic environment.

"Also, now that we have a new mandate, the first two years should be the time to implement GST because by the third year, it will be more difficult as other political considerations kick in. The earlier it is implemented, the better," he said.

Still, Yeah is expecting the GST to be introduced next year.

"There will be some likely clarity in the coming budget (on Oct 25) and then perhaps they can announce the implementation for 2015. It's already long overdue. The important emphasis here is to reduce government's dependence on oil and gas revenue as government income," he added.

Yeah also said the subsidies rationalisation programme has to be more targeted and efficient in order to ensure that the benefits reach the targeted group.

"The basis of subsidy is actually to help the disadvantaged. Right now, the benefits of subsidies are spread to everyone, rich and poor.

"So, there's a good justification to have a more targeted subsidies system as it would reduce the fiscal deficit by 1% to 2%. Those will be the low hanging fruits that the government can quickly benefit from."

RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd economist Peck Boon Soon believes that the implementation of the GST could well be delayed until 2015.

"The introduction of the GST will likely lead to a one-off spike up in inflation, depending on the level of goods and services in the basket of the consumer price index (CPI) that will be affected. We expect it to add around 0.8-2.0 percentage points to the CPI, assuming about 20-50% of the goods & services in the CPI basket will be subjected to the 4% GST," he said in a report last Friday.

"As we expect inflation to average around 2.4% in 2015, the introduction of the GST could potentially push up the CPI to 3.2-4.4%, if it were to be implemented in 2015."

He expects the negative impact due to the introduction of the GST will likely be temporary and consumer spending is expected to return to a normal level after a brief period. 

Don’t fear conversion law, public told

Posted: 30 Jun 2013 11:39 AM PDT


(The Star Online) - "Just wait for the minister to mention it in Parliament. It is something we will not have to worry about any more" 

Malaysians have been assured of action taken by the Government to assuage concerns over a controversial clause in the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013.

"Just wait for the minister to mention it in Parliament. It is something we will not have to worry about any more," said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri.

She said this when asked about the Bill after attending a high-level panel meeting on drug policy and public health yesterday.

Politicians from both sides of the divide, civil society groups and the public have described Section 107(b) of the Bill, which allows a minor to be converted with the consent of only one parent, as unconstitutional.

The Bill was tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.

If passed by both Houses of Parliament next month, the Bill will repeal the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993.

Separately, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the Government would be fair to other religions when making amendments to the Bill.

"There will be few amendments to the Bill in tandem with demands by other religions.

"We also have to respect the role of a parent and we can't force children to follow either the mother or the father who has converted," he said after opening the Sekolah Izzudin Shah alumni annual general meeting yesterday.

In George Town, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the matter had been discussed extensively in the Cabinet following a case in Seremban in early June where a 29-year-old Hindu mother claimed that her estranged husband converted their two children, aged five and eight, to Islam without her knowledge in April.

"The Cabinet is clear that there must be fairness and justice for everyone, including non-Muslims, particularly when one parent converts.

"It's not just about the religion of the child but also custody, alimony and protection for the child," said Dr Subramaniam after launching the Penang Free School Homecoming Carnival yesterday.

In Kota Kinabalu, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the contentious Bill should be withdrawn and instead be discussed within Barisan Nasional first.

The United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation president said he had asked for the withdrawal of a paper on the Bill from Cabinet discussions because he felt that a Cabinet decision on the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 should be implemented first.

"The Cabinet paper was withdrawn and I am therefore surprised that it (the Bill) is now before Parliament," added Dompok, the former Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister.

Various groups have argued that the provision is not only unconstitutional but goes against an April 2009 Cabinet decision that children of an estranged couple should remain in the common religion of the parents at the time of marriage should one parent convert.

The then de facto law minister and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had said that the Cabinet's decision was made following M. Indira Gandhi's case where her three children, aged 12, 11 and one, were allegedly converted to Islam by her husband without her consent.

Malaysian Consultative Council Of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism, in a statement, objected to some of the provisions, which it said affected the rights of non-Muslims, created social injustice and went against the spirit of the Federal Constitution.

Meanwhile, an online portal reported PAS' Kamarudin Jaafar as saying that the Islamist party would treat the Bill carefully, noting that it would affect the lives of all citizens in the country.

"PAS will discuss it and make our stand known. The party has not yet made a definite decision on the Bill," he said. 

S’pore, M’sia and Indonesia to tackle haze issue together

Posted: 30 Jun 2013 11:36 AM PDT


(Today Online) - An agreement on the way forward to manage the perennial problem was reached yesterday at a meeting of Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers — a day after Singapore's Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam met his counterparts from Malaysia and Indonesia to discuss the haze issue and recommend ways to tackle the problem.

To prevent a recurrence of the haze, officials from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia will monitor and examine the situation in Sumatra — where forest fires largely caused by land burning have been widespread — and report to regional leaders.

An agreement on the way forward to manage the perennial problem was reached yesterday at a meeting of Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers — a day after Singapore's Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam met his counterparts from Malaysia and Indonesia to discuss the haze issue and recommend ways to tackle the problem.

While details of the process have yet to be worked out, Mr Shanmugam described it as a positive development as it gave ASEAN a framework to address the haze, the latest bout of which had caused air pollution in Singapore and Malaysia to hit record levels.

The development comes as the haze continues to recede in the region, thanks to Indonesia's fire-fighting efforts which have led to a significant drop in the number of hot spots.

Yesterday, the three-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading stayed within the "good" range from noon onwards — following showers in the morning — and reached a low of 17 at 2pm and 3pm. Singapore's National Environment Agency gave an "all-clear" for the air quality today — the first time since it started issuing daily forecasts on the haze situation more than a week ago. All persons can resume normal activities, it said. Both the 24-hour PSI and the PM2.5 concentration are expected to be at healthy levels.

Speaking on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Mr Shanmugam said the agreement "focuses on the importance of putting out the fires (as well as) monitoring, verifying and preventing recurrence in the future". "It tasks the officials to look at the issues and report to the leaders on the sidelines of the ASEAN Ministerial Meetings," he said, noting that "a number of concrete steps" were recommended and agreed upon.

He stressed that ASEAN members "will all work together" on the agreement. "Sovereignty is an exercise of sovereign power within your own country but that doesn't preclude you from going out to say what you will do in the international arena, how you will cooperate with others," he said. "But of course, that doesn't mean other countries can come into your country and do what they like."

Earlier yesterday, Mr Shanmugam also elaborated on the one-hour informal meeting on Saturday which he initiated with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman. The trio met in a hotel lounge, without the presence of aides.

Writing on Facebook, Mr Shanmugam said his "main objective in suggesting the informal meeting was to try and reach some consensus between the three of us given that our three countries were the most affected by the haze".

Read more at: http://www.todayonline.com/world/asia/spore-msia-and-indonesia-tackle-haze-issue-together 

What women really want to vote for

Posted: 30 Jun 2013 11:34 AM PDT


(fz.com) - There is an emerging class-gender dynamic appearing in voting behaviours of the Malaysian electorate as seen in the recent 13th general election, political analyst Bridget Welsh said.

According to Welsh's research, there was still a persistent gender gap in voting patterns but what's becoming more evident are social cleavages that are adding different dynamics to observable gender differences in voting behaviour.
Some social cleavages that Welsh described were class, ethnicity, age, regional variation and marital status.
"You can't just talk about women as one group. You have to recognise the social cleavages within that. There is a class-gender gap that is emerging in the election results," Welsh said at a recent forum on the role and participation of women in politics.
Welsh, who lectures political science at the Singapore Management University, said that women voters generally tended to favour the Barisan Nasional.
This was especially true amongst Malay, Indian and East Malaysian women but not Chinese women.
Welsh also observed a narrowing of the gender gap within upper class and middle class Malays but a widening of gender differences within Malays of lower income groups.
Crucially, the class-gender gap is likely a reflection of the election campaign that happened, Welsh said.
The general election campaign saw various cash handouts deployed, the fear factor, the opposition's inability to reach out to some rural areas and political messaging that did not seem to connect with women voters.
Welsh stressed that women voters made a difference in the final outcome of the recent May 5 general election.
This is because women, who make up slightly over half of the total electorate, tend to have higher turnout rates than male voters.
There are about 6.66 million women who registered to vote, according to Election Commission data. This means that women form 50.23% of the total 13.26 million electorate.
States with the highest proportion of female voters include Kedah, Perlis and Penang.

Read more at: http://www.fz.com/content/what-women-really-want-vote#ixzz2Xl1hXdKe


Exclusive: Mystery shrouds whereabouts of Raja Muda who led Lahad Datu armed intrusion

Posted: 30 Jun 2013 11:31 AM PDT


(The Star Online) - The whereabouts of the 72-year-old Raja Muda Azzimudie Kiram who led the armed Sulu intrusion into Kg Tanduo remain a mystery.

Azzimudie or Agbimuddin, the younger brother of self-styled Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram, disappeared without a trace after he "fled'' Lahad Datu on March 11 as Malaysian security forces recaptured Kampung Tanduo, Sabah in a massive offensive.

Security forces are certain that he fled to an island at Tawi Tawi province in the southern Philippines close to Sabah but family members insist he is in Lahad Datu waging a guerrilla war.

Tawi Tawi officials believe that he is with a network of sympathisers and has kept a low profile to avoid being detained by Manila which has ordered his arrest for waging a war with a foreign country.

It has also been speculated that Azzimudie, a former assistant district officer of Kudat, Sabah in the early 1970s, was killed by his bodyguard in Kampung Tanduo and buried in an unmarked grave sometime after the Malaysian air and ground offensive to flush out the Sulu gunmen began on March 5.

In an interview with The Star, Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said the police believed that Azzimudie was still alive and was hiding in some islands in his home country.

"Azzimudie is definitely not in Lahad Datu, they (Sulu spokesman Abraham Idjirani) can fly kites if they want to keep insisting that Azzimudie is in Lahad Datu, hiding and moving from one place to another,'' he said when asked about the persistent claims by the Sulu group spokesman Idjirani in the Philippines.

However, Hamza did not rule out the possibility that Aghimuddin was still planning to wage a guerrilla war against Sabah.

He suspected that Azzimudie's family members were insisting that the Raja Muda was still in Sabah because he (Azzimudie) had made many promises (before the intrusion) to Sulu gunmen, who were now dead or facing criminal charges in Malaysia.

"So to prevent him from being killed (in Philippines), they have to say that Azzimudie is in Lahad Datu and still fighting,'' he said, adding there had been no clashes between Sulu gunmen and security forces in Sabah since the intrusion was put down by early April.

Kampung Tanduo has since been closed to the public, with a security base set up at the seaside village and the state government working to relocate more than 20 local families in the area.

In a telephone interview with The Star in Manila, Idjirani, who is the brother-in-law of Azzimudie, insisted that Azzimudie was still "somewhere in Lahad Datu'' waging a guerrilla war against Sabah.

Idjirani, however, did not know the exact location of his brother-in-law.

"I know that he is hiding in a forest and has adopted guerrilla tactics and is moving from one place to another around Kampung Tanduo," he said.

Idjirani claimed that he frequently spoke to Azzimudie.

"In fact, I spoke to him two days ago. He called us and told us that there was an encounter between the Royal Sulu Army and the Malaysian security forces in Mile 9 in Lahad Datu on June 16 and Kampung Labian on June 18,'' he said.

The spokesman believed that the Malaysian security forces were unable to locate Azzimudie as he was no longer using his handphone.

"He is no longer is using his cell phone, as in March (during the aerial bombings), he realised that using his cell phone would lead to detection,'' he said.

"The Raja Muda and his followers are seasoned fighters and even though the Malaysian forces have more firepower they could not defeat them," he said, in claiming that Malaysian forces were cautious in confronting them.

A total of 35 followers of Azzimudie were arrested by Philippines authorities after they returned from Lahad Datu and recently, the Philippines National Bureau of Investigations recommended  various criminal charges - including waging war with a foreign country - be brought against the Raja Muda and his followers who entered Kampung Tanduo between Feb 9 and 12.

A total of 73 intruders were killed (59 bodies have been recovered) in the nearly eight-week armed showdown with Malaysian security forces.

Malaysian police have arrested 184 people and charged 31 with various criminal offences, including waging  war against the Agong. Their cases are ongoing in court. 

Crime is Real, not Perception: Stop procrastinating and reform the police today

Posted: 30 Jun 2013 11:27 AM PDT


Khairy's home in Bukit Damansara was struck by robbers, making him the latest victim in a spate of high-profile robberies. 

First of all, I would like to express my commiseration to Youth and Sports Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin whose house in Bukit Damansara was burglared in broad daylight over the weekend. My own terrace house had been burglared twice in 2009 and 2010, which was a reason why my family moved into an apartment which has 24 hours security in 2011.
Tony Pua 
No one, whether a Minister, politician, whether from Pakatan Rakyat or Barisan Nasional, or any man on the street, should be subjected to the trauma of crime in this country. We are thankful that in this instance, no one was injured in the incident. The above, and many other crime incidents in recent months occurring to VIPs, including family members of other ministers and senior police officers proved that crime is not mere perception in Malaysia. If Minister's and senior police officers are not safe from crime, then how can the ordinary city folks even sleep in peace?
Khairy himself has accepted as such in his Facebook comment yesterday evening on the incident. He wrote that "Insiden ini adalah peringatan kepada kita semua bahawa jenayah merupakan masalah serius di negara kita. Masalah ini adalah perkara yang nyata, bukan semata-mata persepsi."
The threat of crime has forced the man on the street to take matters into their own hands by setting up "illegal" boom gates and access barriers as well as forking out millions of Ringgit every year to employ security guards to protect themselves. Therefore these acts of barricading their housing estates into war zones are certainly not acts of wanting to "live in exclusivity" as alleged by Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Member of Parliament for Kota Belud previously in Parliament.
There is no question that crime statistics over the past years have been manipulated to give Malaysians a false perception of security. The government claims that street crimes have been reduced by 40% in recent years while the crime index has fallen by 25% from 2007 to 2011. What the government has attempted to hide from Malaysians was that non-index crime index have over the same period increased by a whopping 69%!
The most incredulous of the BN Government claims must be that Malaysia is the safest country in Southeast Asia, even safer than Singapore, and some say, Hong Kong and Japan.
We must stop lying to ourselves and the Government must start admitting the severity of crime in the country. Only and unless the Government and the police are willing to accept that fact, there will be no sense of urgency among the authorities to make things better. What we will get instead is excuses by the police force and even Pemandu itself, that the repeal of Emergency Ordinance to keep suspects under 2 year detentions have caused an increase in crime.
The Malaysian Police must concede that the real reason behind the weaknesses in fighting crime is the sheer misallocation of resources within the force. Over the past 8 years, the criminal investigation department (CID) comprises barely 9% of the police force. In stark contrast, 41% of uniformed police perform management functions, while 31% are tasked with internal security and public order such as the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU), the Light Strike Force as well as the General Operations Force.
Even the Special Branch of the police has nearly the same number of personnel as the CID. In fact the Budget figures in 2010 showed that the police produced 733,237 reports and security checks by the Special Branch, but only 211,645 criminal investigation papers. So Special Branch produced more than three times as many reports as the CID.
The 2005 Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) Report has recommended about 20,000 uniformed personnel or 22% of the force could be reassigned to go back to active core policing work. Unfortunately this recommendation was never taken seriously by the Home Ministry.

The Home Ministry and the Malaysian police must stop giving excuses to the rising spate of crime. It must accept the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry carried out 8 years ago, and implement all the necessary measures to improve the effectiveness and professionalism of the police force. The failure to do so will only see crime persist at high and increasing levels, making Malaysia unsafe not only for its citizens, but also as a conducive country of business and investment.


Daylight robbery in Khairy's home

(The Star) - Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has become the latest victim of robbers when his home was hit on Saturday afternoon.

Three men scaled the wall of the bungalow in Jalan Setiabistari, Bukit Damansara, at about 5.30pm before breaking in through the front door.

Khairy and his wife, who live in the house which belongs to his mother, were not in when the robbers struck.

The only person in the house was a maid, who said the three men ransacked the place, including the master bedroom where most of the valuables were kept.

The robbers took off with several laptop compu­ters, watches and other expensive items.

City CID chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ku Chin Wah said police were trying to find out the total number of items taken away.

"There have been no arrests yet. We are probing all angles for the robbery," he said.

Khairy, who also confirmed the robbery on his Facebook page yesterday, thanked family members and friends who offered words of kindness.

"Thankfully no one was hurt and I leave the matter in the hands of the police.

"This incident is a reminder to us all that crime is a serious problem in our country.

"It is a real issue and not just merely a perception," he said, urging other victims of crimes to stay strong.

He also urged everyone to keep their families and themselves safe. 


Najib can bring Malaysians together

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 11:36 PM PDT

He has demonstrated very convincingly that he would like to continue working on plans and programmes for the betterment of Malaysians, says Robert Phang. 

(FMT) - MELBOURNE: A leading Malaysian social commentator said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has the "stature and authority" to bring all communities together after the recent general election.

"He is very sincere when he says `I want to rule for all Malaysians. This is very encouraging," Robert Phang, the founder and chairman of Social Care Foundation, told Bernama, here.

"Najib is the best person to get to the root cause of the political malaise, especially among the Chinese, he said, adding that a post-mortem should be conducted to ascertain reasons why MCA and other BN Chinese component parties were rejected by its own community.

"They have failed to connect with their constituents and this is a disaster. There is no Chinese representation in Cabinet. This is very disappointing. So something has to be done," he said.

Phang was here to address the Victorian Chinese Chamber of Commerce at the weekend.

"Najib has demonstrated very convincingly that he would like to continue working on plans and programmes for the betterment of Malaysians.

"But he needs to win the support and confidence of the Chinese and Indians. This I am sure he will achieve," he added.

"Because of his family heritage, British training, open mindness and being very receptive to suggestions I feel confident Najib is the man of our times who can unite the nation.

"Najib has many times said `change, or be changed'. He understands the seriousness of the situation and we can expect reforms within Umno and BN.

"Despite his detractors, the prime minister was given a resounding mandate at the election and he can move forward with confidence and with authority."

Phang said although it was vital to have a strong opposition to provide checks and balances, "they must be constructive and effective, not just shouting slogans and marching down the streets".

He said rallies mooted by Anwar Ibrahim are unproductive, destructive and deceptive and would drive foreign investment away.

"Malaysia is a beautiful country. I want to see it grow and prosper," Phang said.


RCI siasat insiden Lahad Datu

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 11:06 PM PDT

Saya sokong cadangan menubuhkan RCI sekiranya orang ramai ingin tahu apa yang sebenarnya terjadi di Lahad Datu, kata Hishammuddin. 

Saya sokong cadangan menubuhkan RCI sekiranya orang ramai ingin tahu apa yang sebenarnya terjadi di Lahad Datu, kata Hishammuddin. - See more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/06/30/rci-siasat-insiden-lahad-datu/#sthash.nzG3T7ME.dpuf

(Bernama) - Suruhanjaya Siasatan Diraja (RCI) untuk menyiasat dakwaan ada pihak yang menjadi dalang di sebalik insiden pencerobohan di Lahad Datu, Sabah boleh ditubuhkan, kata Menteri Pertahanan Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.


Namun, katanya siasatan yang dijalankan suruhanjaya itu tidak harus mengganggu atau menjejaskan siasatan insiden itu oleh pihak berkuasa.

"Saya sokong cadangan menubuhkan RCI sekiranya orang ramai ingin tahu apa yang sebenarnya terjadi di Lahad Datu.

"Saya tidak mahu ada orang yang tidak berdosa dituduh dan tidak mahu dalang yang terlibat ke luar negara," katanya kepada pemberita selepas merasmikan Mesyuarat Agung Koperasi Tentera yang ke-48 di Kem Sungai Buloh di sini, hari ini.

Sebelum ini, banyak pihak termasuk bekas Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad meminta kerajaan menubuhkan RCI bagi membongkar dalang insiden pencerobohan di Lahad Datu.

Berhubung tiga dalang yang didakwa terbabit dalam insiden Lahad Datu, Hishammuddin berkata pihaknya masih menjalankan siasatan.

Beliau berkata Naib Presiden PKR Tian Chua tidak berhak menggesa kerajaan mendedahkan tiga dalang insiden itu setelah memperlekehkan anggota pasukan keselamatan negara yang terkorban dalam kejadian itu.

Hishammuddin menegaskan kejadian itu amat serius sehingga kerajaan menubuhkan Zon Selamat Sabah Timur (Esszone) dan Kawasan Keselamatan Khas Pantai Timur Sabah (Esscom).

"Oleh itu, dia (Tian Chua) tidak berhak menggesa kerajaan kerana dia telah buat kenyataan yang tidak bertanggungjawab yang telah menyinggung anggota keluarga tentera dan Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) yang terkorban kerana insiden itu," katanya.

Pada 27 Jun lepas, Tian Chua yang juga Anggota Parlimen PKR bagi kawasan Batu berkata kerajaan perlu mengambil tindakan tegas dan cepat untuk mendedahkan dalang insiden pencerobohan itu bagi membolehkan pendakwaan segera dilakukan ke atas individu terbabit.

Insiden penceroboh pengganas selatan Filipina itu menggemparkan negara  setelah mereka menduduki kawasan perkampungan di Lahad Datu pada 12 Feb lepas dan kerajaan melancarkan Operasi Daulat pada 5 Mac dalam mempertahankan kedaulatan negara.

Lapan anggota polis dan dua tentera terkorban dalam Operasi Daulat manakala 68 pengganas ditembak mati.


PSM's Arul to step down in 2015

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 10:58 PM PDT

Meena Lakshana, fz.com

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S Arutchelvan said today he will step down in 2015 in order to pave the way for young people to lead the party.

"I have already decided 2015 will be my end term. I am open to people taking over," he said after PSM's 15th Annual Congress here.
He said based on previous discussions within the party in 2008, the leadership had proposed a two-term limit spanning four years for office bearers.
"But the members had insisted that office bearers hold their position for five terms, or 10 years," he added.
Arutchelvan has served as the party's secretary-general since 1998.
At the congress this year, he was elected without contest due to the withdrawal of other candidates.
Arutchelvan said the party hopes to cultivate future leaders among its youth wing, helmed by 28 year-old KS Bawani, which is in need of members.
"We are giving her two years to build the youth wing," he said, pointing out that she would not be able to be nominated for the position once she turns 30-years old.

PAS: Kuala Besut seat is ours, PKR 'doesn't understand'

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 10:53 PM PDT

Sean Augustin, fz.com

PAS today accused PKR of failing to understand the situation with regard to the Kuala Besut state constituency after the latter declared its intention to stand there in the pending by-election, reigniting a dilemma that often dogs Pakatan Rakyat.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali said such issues should never even surface, arguing that the party that contested for the seat in the 13th general election should be the one fielding the candidate for the opposition coalition.
On May 6, Barisan Nasional's Dr A Rahman Mokhtar defeated PAS' Napisah Ismail by a 2,434 majority. A Rahman, who died last week from lung cancer, won the seat with 8,809 votes.
Terengganu PKR chairperson Azan Ismail is reported to have said that the party had potential candidates to contest the seat in the by-election.
Azan said that to strengthen the opposition's hold in Terengganu, it would be beneficial for PAS to consider a PKR candidate.
PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, meanwhile, pointed out that PKR had won the seat in 1999. Mustafa however insisted that the seat should go to PAS. 
"We don't think he (Azan) was serious when he made that statement," he told Sinar Harian Online. "The question should not even arise. He does not understand about the seat". 
Mustafa was confident that Terengganu PAS had qualified candidates to defeat BN's choice, although as the date for the by-election has yet to be announced, PAS headquarters has not asked for a list of names.
In a related report by Sinar Harian, Azmin deemed the battle for the Kuala Besut seat a "critical" one, as it could determine who administers the state.
Speculations were rife that should BN lose Kuala Besut , there was a possibility the state would see a hung assembly, although state PAS leaders have poured cold water on such probabilities.
BN retained Terengganu by a simple majority of 17 seats against the opposition's 15 for the 32-seat state assembly.
While Azmin did not discount the possibility of a PKR candidate being named for the seat, he however said the decision would be made at the Pakatan leadership council meeting which will be held soon.
The public tussle for seats among the opposition coalition is nothing new, with such incidences reported in Sabah and in Selangor before the May 5 polls.


Negotiate, not quarrel, over water

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 05:20 PM PDT

Penang and Kedah must sit down and work out an agreement that's mutually beneficial to both states and their people.

Basically, there are three major river basins in Kedah – Kedah River, Muda River and Merbok River. In the case of Penang, raw water is extracted from the Muda River by way of pumping it at the Lahar Tiang Pumping Station into a 14km canal which flows either into the Mengkuang dam (funded by the federal government) for storage or directly to the Sungai Dua treatment plant.

Roger Tan, The Star (23 June 2013)

IT is interesting to read Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's statement that Kedah's proposal to charge Penang for raw water was "unreasonable" and akin to "asking money for nothing" ("Penang not getting raw water from Kedah", The Star, June 17).

It is equally interesting to read Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir's response that both state governments should negotiate the raw water payment issue. But this is not a new issue. The previous PAS-led government too had made a similar request.

To understand the issue, it is good to look at the diagram (below). Basically, there are three major river basins in Kedah – Kedah River, Muda River and Merbok River. The Muda River basin is the largest in Kedah covering a total area of about 4,150 sq km. (A river basin is an area of land drained by a river and its tributaries.) There are two dams in this basin – Muda dam and Beris dam. The Beris dam is located at Muda's River's tributary, Beris River. The Muda dam is located upstream of the Muda River covering an area of about 985 sq km. When necessary, the Muda and Pedu dams complement each other via the 6.6km Saiong tunnel.

The Pedu and Muda dams are located together with the Ahning dam in the Ulu Muda forest reserve, which includes the water catchment area – the size of which is larger than Penang state.

In 2003, a Barisan Nasional-led government had planned to log thousands of hectares of forest in this sprawling catchment area. In June 2008, Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak had also threatened to fell trees near this catchment area unless the Federal Government paid RM100mil to the Kedah Government.

Fortunately, no major logging took place, otherwise silt from logging would not only pollute rivers but also clog up dams and water treatment plants. Large-scale cutting down of trees too would increase the salinity level, causing the water in the reservoirs to turn salty. Hence, whatever happens to this area will adversely affect the lives of the people of Kedah and Penang. The reservoirs here irrigate our country's main rice bowl and supply most of the water to the two states.

Muda River, which is about 180km long, flows out to the Straits of Malacca. Its estuary is located in both Kedah and Penang because since the 1970s, their border has been moved to the centre of the river. Prior to that and during British rule, Muda River was located entirely in Kedah, probably because the British-ruled Penang did not want to assume responsibility for fighting piracy along the river. So, in simple terms, Penang is the downstream state and Kedah is the upstream state. In the normal course of events, the downstream state can exact damage to the upstream state only in one situation, when it builds, for example, a dam or barrage which causes flooding to the areas in the upstream state. On the other hand, the actions of the upstream state can, in many ways, affect the interest of the downstream state in terms of quantity and quality of water that flows downstream.

In the case of Penang, raw water is extracted from the Muda River by way of pumping it at the Lahar Tiang Pumping Station into a 14km canal which flows either into the Mengkuang dam (funded by the federal government) for storage or directly to the Sungai Dua treatment plant.

In 2012, Penang produced about 964 million litres a day (MLD) of treated water. Of this, about 797 MLD or 83% of it came from the raw water extracted from the Muda River.

According to the 2012 annual report (page 138, note 19) of PBA Holdings Bhd ("PBAHB") published on its website, the PBAHB Group, which includes Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang Sdn Bhd, had paid raw water intake charges of RM10.899mil for 2011 and RM8.095mil for 2012. However, none of these payments went to the Kedah government.

In his press statement, Lim said: "Firstly, Kedah is not supplying raw water to Penang. The Muda River flows through Penang naturally. We draw water from the river ourselves using our own water supply infrastructure, at our own cost. Since there is no cost on Kedah's side, why should there be any charges? ... In accordance to riparian rights, or water rights, the owners of lands near a natural raw water resource may be entitled to natural flow, reasonable use and beneficial use. For this reason, before opening his mouth, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (Energy, Green Technology and Water Deputy Minister) should understand the concept of riparian rights."

With respect to Lim, this is perhaps a selfish way of looking at things. Fortunately, this statement was not made during a severe drought season when without sufficient water being released from the Muda dam, the taps in Penang would certainly run dry. In actual fact, water has to be released from the Muda dam whenever the water level in Muda River is low. This happened during the drought seasons of 1998 and 2002.

Riparian rights only grant the riparian state reasonable use of the water, but Penang Island, which is the main beneficiary of the raw water from the Muda River, is not located next to the Muda River. So, is that "reasonable use"?

On the lighter side, Penang only owns half of the Muda river as the border is in the middle of the river. Is Penang not drawing Kedah's water too since waters of Kedah and Penang at the border have actually mixed?

Penang ought to look at the bigger picture: that whatever happens to the Ulu Muda forest reserve and Muda River basin, which are our country's major ecosystems, will also affect them. Of course, there is a cost to Kedah to preserve and maintain these water resources by always taking into account the interest of Penang. They could easily promote, develop or economise them for other purposes.

Seriously, both states must recognise that there is a value in raw water and accept the reality that raw water is not going to get more in the future. Instead, there will be more depletion of raw water in the future.

It is therefore in the interest of both states to preserve these ecosystems and water resources to ensure sufficient quantity of water as well as to protect water quality. It is not just the sole responsibility of Kedah alone.

For the sake of future generations, it is actually good if both states can reach an amicable settlement, bearing in mind always that it is in their mutual interest to do so. They should work for a win-win deal. As the saying goes, one should not wait till the well is dry before realising the worth of water. With a regulated agreement, there should also be contractual obligations on the part of Kedah to supply sufficient raw water to Penang. Otherwise, Penang can always be held to ransom one day without legal recourse.

Water Consumption

After all, it is not that Penang cannot afford it. In fact, the water rates in Penang are the lowest in Malaysia where the first 20 cubic metres is only 22 sen compared with 57 sen in Selangor and 60 sen in Johor. No wonder, according to the Malaysia Water Industry Guide 2012, Penangites consume the most water per day in Malaysia, partly because it is so cheap.

Water disputes between states within the same country are not an uncommon thing. The law reports are replete with cases involving inter-state water disputes in the United States, India and Australia.

So what happens next if Penang and Kedah cannot reach an agreement? The answer will be that the federal government has to step in by passing a federal law to deal with it just like India's Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 made under article 262 of the Indian constitution. But our federal parliament has more powers than that.

Under article 74(1) and item 11(b) of List I of the Ninth Schedule to our Federal Constitution, our federal parliament is empowered to legislate on any matter with respect to rivers and canals which are not wholly within one state or regulated by an agreement between all the states concerned. This could certainly include the payment of raw water by Penang notwithstanding it is a riparian state. In other words, to avoid federal intervention, it is best for Kedah and Penang to sit down and work out an agreement which is mutually beneficial to both states and their people. I am sure future generations will look back at the current government leaders with much gratitude and respect.

> The writer, a senior lawyer, is a Commissioner of the National Water Services Commission (SPAN). SPAN has no jurisdiction over raw water management. The writer's views expressed here do not necessarily reflect that of SPAN's.


The ‘message’ of the urban voters must be taken seriously: Muhyiddin

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 04:55 PM PDT

(Malay Mail) - After over a month of fingering the Chinese for Barisan Nasional's (BN) Election 2013 losses, the ruling coalition appeared to sing a different tune today when its deputy chief Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin urged members to take the concerns of urban voters more seriously in preparation for the next federal polls.

Muhyiddin, who is also Umno deputy president, pointedly said today that these urban areas include those from all ethnic groups and not just the Chinese community.

His remarks appear to be a marked departure from Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak's immediate description of the May 5 polls as a "Chinese tsunami".

"When we mention the urban people, (it's) not just the Chinese only, but the Malays, Indians and others in the cities.

"There's a message that they have given to us and this is something that we must take seriously... so that those who were not so confident will be more confident in the time to come," Muhyiddin, who is also the deputy prime minister, said in a speech at a Federal Territories BN thanksgiving ceremony here.

Earlier in his speech, Muhyiddin said that BN's success in defending their current electoral wins would depend on the coalition's performance and also the urban voters' concerns.

"Certainly it will depend on a few factors that we found such as the question why many urban voters did not give their support to us.

"Is it because of our weaknesses as a party; or because what we carried out did not fulfil their wishes and desires; or we neglected our duty to help them, or urban issues that we did not pay attention to or other reasons that caused them not to help Barisan Nasional in the last elections?" he asked.

Later, Muhyiddin said that there was a need to pay heed to the demands of the younger voters despite BN's continued relevance as a party.

He noted their desire for BN's renewal, including the coalition's structure and more inclusive policies, which he said must be answered with action from the coalition leaders.

Datuk Raja Nong Chik, the Federal Territories BN deputy chief, urged coalition members to continue fighting for elections.

"We will make sure, one day, we will prove that Barisan Nasional is a party that is relevant, including in urban areas," the former minister said in a speech at the same event.

Nong Chik also urged BN leaders not to place too much attention on party elections, but asked them to start ramping up efforts to register new voters in preparation for the 14th general election.

Most of the political parties are expected to hold internal polls this year, with some of the BN component parties taking a beating after a poor performance at the 13th general elections.

"We have to solve our internal problems as soon as we can and I believe they can do it," Muhyiddin said today, later listing MCA, Gerakan, MIC, Umno and unnamed BN component parties in Sabah and Sarawak as facing internal problems.

Despite the national polls being held more than a month ago, the elections and its result continue to dominate the country's political discourse and the debate for the first week of Parliament.

Analysts and politicians from both sides of the political divide have said that the polls showed a split in voter support for BN and its rival Pakatan Rakyat (PR) based on the urban-rural divide, rather than across racial lines.


Ambiga: Street demonstrations not the way to topple governments

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 04:09 PM PDT

(Malay Mail) - Street demonstrations should not be used to topple governments, Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan has said, appearing to take a different stand from those who have been rallying against the May 5 polls in Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) "Black 505" protests.

The Bersih 2.0 chairman told an interview in The Star today that while she felt that such public gatherings are constitutionally provided for, it was better to change a government though the ballot boxes.

"No," Ambiga said when asked if she was in favour of demonstrations to topple governments. "We haven't come to that point."

"For me, we can still change the system without resorting to that (street demonstrations)," she added in the interview, which was published in verbatim by the English daily.

The known lawyer and civil rights activist stressed the importance of empowerment and education in the fight to affect change but lamented that the right information has not quite reached the Malaysian audience.

She said affecting change through education would be far more enduring, adding that it was this method that the electoral reforms group she co-chairs - Bersih 2.0 - has been advocating.

But when asked if she favoured the use of street demonstrations to force resignations, much like Bersih 2.0's and PR's repeated demands for the Election Commission (EC) to be sacked, Ambiga said she found no fault with that.

"To me, that's okay," she said. "Bringing down a government is far more serious because there was an election, however flawed it may be."

"You don't need to change a government that way. It is far better if we can do it through the ballot box.

"If at all it comes to a changing of government, we want to do it through the ballot box.

"That is my personal view. But we must not be deprived of the chance to do it through the ballot box in a clean election," she added.

In the aftermath of the May 5 general election, PR declared that it would not accept the polls results, arguing that it was only through fraud and widespread rigging that the ruling coalition of Barisan Nasional (BN) had emerged victors once again.

The federal opposition pact, led by its leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, lost to BN by a smaller majority than Election 2008, garnering 89 seats to the latter pact's 133 seats.

Despite missing its shot at Putrajaya by a mile in terms of seat numbers, PR won the popular vote when it scored more than 51 per cent of the votes cast.

Dissatisfied by the results, PR leaders, backed by a large segment of Malaysia's burgeoning civil society movement, have been protesting the results of the polls through its series of "Black505" rallies.

Scores of politicians and activists have even been arrested and many slapped with sedition charges when they were allegedly heard urging Malaysians to take to the streets to topple the BN government.

Student activist Adam Adli was among those charged after he was hauled in for telling a May 13 forum shortly after the polls that the only way to topple the BN government was not through elections but street protests.

Ambiga, who had accompanied Adam Adli to court when he was charged last month, maintained today that Bersih 2.0 would continue withholding its recognition of the newly-elected BN government until the outcome of its "People's Tribunal".

She said the tribunal should kick off hearings by September and despite not having any legal standing to affect changes to the election results, its findings would be a "more force" to fight for electoral reform.

"We hope with those findings, we can move the agenda for reforms much more quickly because it will be based on findings and fact rather than speculation," she said.


Guan Eng suggests PAS boycott Kuala Besut by-election

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 04:01 PM PDT

(The Star) - DAP will suggest PAS boycott the upcoming Kuala Besut by-election in Terengganu in protest of the alleged "dirty tactics" used by the Election Commission (EC) in GE13, said party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

He said that the matter would be brought up in Pakatan Rakyat's next supreme council meeting.

He added that the move was to boycott the EC for "the lack of explanation and dubious tactics they came up with regarding the indelible ink in the GE13".

"However, it is still up to PAS to decide whether they want to boycott or not as it is their seat and they have the ultimate say in the matter," he said when attending the opening of the first community centre in the country in Taman Indahpura here Sunday.

The Kuala Besut seat fell vacant following the death of Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar, 55, on Wednesday. He retained the seat in the general election by beating PAS' Napisah Ismail with a majority of 2,434 votes.


Govt, IGP to appeal against High Court decision on Kugan's case

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 03:56 PM PDT

(NST) - The government as well as Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar will be filing an appeal against the decision of the High Court in A.Kugan's case.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said though the government respected the decision of High Court judge Datuk V.T. Singham in that case, it was only fair that the government and the IGP appealed the decision.

The High Court recently decided in favour of Kugan's family where Singham found that Khalid, who was the Selangor police chief when Kugan's death occurrred, was responsible for the latter's death.

"We will take it up to the Court of Appeal. If that fails, we will proceed to the Federal Court," he said told reporters after opening the Sekolah Menengah Izzuddin's alumni's annual general meeting here today.

Kedah wants talks with Penang on raw water charge

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 03:48 PM PDT

(Bernama) - The Kedah state government wants its Penang counterpart not to reject its request to charge for raw water supply from Sungai Muda.

Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said the Kedah government had valid grounds to charge the Penang goverment for the supply despite Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng saying his government would not do so.

"Guan Eng's statement on the matter recently appears to be rejecting Kedah's request. I hope he will be more open on this," he told reporters here Sunday.

Guan Eng had said that the Penang government would not pay for the raw water supply citing international laws which forbade the imposition of charges for naturally-flowing water.

The previous PAS-led government in Kedah had also wanted to charge the Penang government RM20mil annually for raw water supply from Sungai Muda.


Kalau main politik dengan orang asing, sememang buruk padahnya

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 02:58 PM PDT

Aspan Alias

Jusuff Kalla, mantan Naib Presiden Indonesia telah di kritik keras oleh Pengerusi DAP, Karpal Singh kerana membuat kenyataan yang boleh menjejaskan kredibiliti Anwar Ibrahim, Ketua Pembangkang Malaysia.

Pengerusi DAP itu telah membidas Jusuff kerana membocorkan isi kandungan perbincangan sulit diantara Anwar dan PM Najib dan menuduh Anwar tidak memenuhi perjanjian diantara kedua-dua pemimpin negara itu. Anwar telah dikatakan mendapat bantuan syarikat besar dari Filipina, Amerika Syarikat, Turkey dan juga Thailand untuk membiayai ralli 'blackout 505' yang dianjurkan oleh pihak Pakatan Rakyat baru-baru ini.

Kenyataan Jusuff itu telah menjejaskan kredibiliti Anwar dan seterusnya menjejaskan kredibiliti Pakatan Rakyat sekali gus. Karpal mendesak Jusuff Kalla untuk memohon maaf kepada Anwar secara terbuka. Karpal berkata Anwar tidak sepatutnya percaya kepada Jusuff kerana tindakan Jusuff itu memberikan impak negatif kepada gerakan pembangkang dinegara ini. "Jusuf ternyata mempunyai agenda beliau sendiri" kata Karpal.

Saya tidak mahu memberikan komen tentang samada Jusuff patut meminta maaf diatas tindakan beliau membocorkan semua perundingan sulit Anwar dengan siapa dan dimana perundingan itu dibuat. Bagi saya seseorang pemimpin negara ini tidak kira Anwar atau pun sesiapa, melibatkan pemimpin asing untuk politik sendiri di negara sendiri itu adalah satu tindakan yang tidak bermoral.

Inilah padahnya jika keghairahan kita untuk menjadi orang penting negara membawa orang atau pemimpin asing untuk terlibat sama. Tindakan Jusuff membocorkan rundingan rahsia Anwar dengan Najib dan membocorkan cerita bantuan kewangan yang Anwar perolehi dari luar negara itu mungkin tidak beretika.

Tetapi tindakan pemimpin negara menggunakan pihak luar untuk membantu politiknya sudah cukup untuk meyakinkan rakyat yang Anwar mampu diperguna oleh kuasa asing. Mendedahkan diri dengan bantuan politik dari luar ini akhirnya seorang pemimpin itu menjadi pemimpin 'puppet' kuasa asing.

Itu sebabnya sekarang sudah tidak ada lagi 'freedom fighters' di dunia ini kerana Amerika Syarikat dan kuasa asing yang lain telah mencorakkan politik banyak negara didunia ini. Kuasa asing telah mengadu-domba rakyat sesebuah negara dan kenyataan ini boleh kita lihat berlaku dinegara-negara Timur Tengah beberapa ketika dahulu dan disetengah negara itu masih berlaku.



Now, Awang Selamat tell Pua to migrate if unhappy

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 01:54 PM PDT

(TMI) - Every robust discussion in Malaysia which upsets Umno-owned media ends this way: emigrate to Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, India if life here is unsatisfactory.

The latest target of this vitriol is Tony Pua, DAP's information chief. 

Awang Selamat, the pseudonym used by Mingguan Malaysia editors in their weekly editorial, weighed in on the Jonker Walk controversy in Malacca.

The newspaper - the most rabid and right-wing in Malaysia -  accused the Chinese media and non-governmental organisations of misrepresenting Malacca Chief Minister Idris Haron. 

It said that Idris never ordered the popular  tourist street closed to traffic. 

The Malacca CM also denied that businesses along Jonker Walk had been ordered to stop operations.  

DAP and MCA politicians reacted adversely to the move to close the street and stop hawkers from setting up stalls there, believing that it was a tit-for-tat by the state government against Chinese for voting for the  Opposition.  

Pua also slammed Idris for his double-speak, saying that he had a memo issued by the mayor of the Malacca city council sent to the Jonker Walk committee telling them that hawkers are not allowed to set up stalls along the road. Awang Selamat today took aim at Pua. 

The writer noted that the DAP MP had been vociferous on the Jonker Walk and had upset Muslims by suggesting that Ramadan stalls be closed in the heat of the debate on the tourist belt in Malacca. 

"He suggested that the Ramadan market also be closed because he claimed it caused traffic congestion...Tony is testing the patience of Muslims which has its limit. 

Awang's advice is that if he really does not like the environment and existence of the Ramadan market, it is best that he migrate to Taiwan or Hong Kong, " said the writer.



The Anwar-Najib contract

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 01:33 PM PDT

KTemoc Konsiders

Today in my most lazy weekend, I read in 2 places very angry condemnations of former Indonesian VP Jusuf Kalla and his role as mediator in an Anwar Ibrahim-Najib Razak pre-election agreement or, as RPK puts it, 'contract'.

The first was in Malaysiakini in an article by S Thayaparan titled Jusuf Kalla's poisonous fairy tale while the second was in Malaysia-Today's Expressed and implied.

The second referred to Karpal Singh's criticisms of Kalla going beyond his role as mediator for the two principal protagonists in the recent Malaysian general election, and assuming a foreigner's interfering partisan stand for Najib and against Anwar. The former, by S Thayaparan, describes Kalla's pro-Najib partisanship in the same way as had Karpal, one which saw a series of alleged poisonous fabrications against Anwar Ibrahim.

Leaving aside Jusuf Kalla's alien intrusive interference in Malaysian politics (when his role was just as mediator and witness to an agreement for the loser of the Malaysian elections to accept the verdict of the voters in clean democratic fashion, and not an open cheque book for him to wander beyond that), there was indeed such an Anwar-Najib agreement, and most important of all, that Anwar was the initiator of the proposal.

On a matter of national pride, I have never supported Anwar Ibrahim's regular attempts to induct foreigners into roles within our election structure. On this silliness he was recently snubbed by Australia's foreign minister Bob Carr (who's incidentally married to a Malaysian). Bob Carr also gave a tick to the Malaysian election after its completion, perhaps as a second snub to Anwar's seeming impropriety to Malaysia's national sovereignty.

It's commonsense that no sovereign nation wants a foreigner to dictate terms or manage the nation's elections - Malaysia is no colony of Australia or any foreign nation. How shameful can that be. And conversely no foreign government wants to be involved, save those of its fringe elements like Australian Senator Nick Xenophon.

Incidentally, the more meaningful story of Malaysia's official acrimonious relationship with Nick Xenophon is not so much about his interference in Malaysian politics as was assumed when he was deported from Kuala Lumpur.

This man is anti palm oil, and thus is considered as a threat to one of Malaysia's most important primary produces. Florence Chong of Asia Today wrote in PALM OIL, NOT POLITICS – WHY MALAYSIA KICKED OUT AN AUSTRALIAN SENATOR (extracts):



‘We’re not going to waste time with Pakatan’

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 01:23 PM PDT

PSM to concentrate on building itself, while keeping the option to negotiate with Pakatan open. 

K Pragalath, FMT

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) have decided to concentrate on building the left movement to oppose neo-liberals and build their party instead of focusing their energy on its relations with Pakatan Rakyat.

"We are not going to waste time with Pakatan. The ball is in their court," said PSM secretary general S Arutchelvan when PSM was discussing a resolution on Pakatan Rakyat late last night.

"We will tell them our stand if and when they call us for negotiations later this week," Arutchelvan added on the second day of PSM's 15th national congress held in Tanah Rata.

He added that the challenge for PSM was to put their foot down to ensure that Pakatan worked in the interest of the people.

"In the last two years, we did not oppose when Pakatan did not perform well and  became lazy," he said.

He also reminded the delegates that it was the members' responsibility to strengthen PSM.

"Pakatan would not strengthen us," said Arutchelvan.

Sungai Siput MP Dr D Michael Jeyakumar also concurred with Arutchelvan's views and emphasized that PSM's relations with Pakatan was tactical in nature, without giving away the left movement.

"Handling Pakatan is a tactical move and building a third force is a principled move.

"Our immediate concern is bringing down BN. On the long run, we may have differences in approaching system," he said.

A total of 68 delegates who were present agreed to the motion of building the party and the third force. The 15th annual congress was attended by a total 77 delegates with voting rights.

To contest in more seats

An interesting motion that was also passed was the resolution to contest in more than the present four seats that the party has been contesting.

"We are open to contest in more seats in the future without compromising our stand which is to spread socialism," Arutchelvan announced.

The seats that they would contest in the future were not mentioned.



Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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