Selasa, 3 September 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Umno needs to remember who saved them, says Kadir Jasin

Posted: 03 Sep 2013 02:28 AM PDT

Trinna Leong, TMI

Putrajaya has been reminded not to forget the rural folk whose vote returned them to power and will now have to bear the burden from the hike in fuel price.

The former group editor-in-chief of the Umno controlled New Straits Times Press (NSTP) Datuk A. Kadir Jasin said that the increase would burden the people, especially those who live in rural areas.

In the last election, BN won 133 parliamentary seats, with Umno picking up 88 parliamentary seats in rural Malaysia.

"The subsidy cut caused fuel prices to go up by 20 sen and so the people's burden will increase. The finance minister said, the latest hike would save roughly RM1.1 billion," Kadir wrote in his blog today.

"We must know what the savings would be used for. Hopefully, the focus would not be on cities alone. The government must remember who saved BN," he said, referring to the general election on May 5.

While calling for rural folk to be cared for,  Kadir faulted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's administration for overspending, causing the people to pay the price.

"On the outset, it looks like the government overspends. Expenses for the prime minister's overseas trip have cost RM44.07 million since Najib became PM five years ago."

"How much then did it cost to repair and renovate the (prime minister's) official residence?" he questioned.

After the recent general elections, political analysts drew the conclusion that there was a massive shift of choice when urban and middle-class voters opted for the opposition, thus widening the gap in opinion between urban and rural Malaysia.



Fuel subsidy cut just the start, ex-NST boss predicts

Posted: 03 Sep 2013 02:24 AM PDT

(MM) - The fuel subsidy cuts announced yesterday are a harbinger of more painful measures to come, according to former New Straits Times (NST) editor-in-chief Datuk A. Kadir Jasin.

Saying that this was the way of elections, with politicians' many promises made beforehand, the newspaper veteran suggested that the public brace themselves for further hits once the Budget is announced next month.

"Let us not be too surprised if our financial burden does not end here. Wait for Budget 2014 soon," he wrote on his blog today.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that fuel subsidies for RON95 petrol and diesel will be cut by 20 sen a litre beginning today, in a bid to slash the government's subsidy bill and trim a chronic budget deficit.

Last week, the government also appeared to signal that a long-delayed goods and services tax (GST) could make its way into the Budget that Najib tables on October 25, after one senior Treasury official said its introduction was now a necessity.

Today, Kadir also said Putrajaya must be transparent in showing how savings from yesterday's fuel subsidy cut will be used, in order to address the perception of its financial profligacy.

Pointing out that the decision to raise pump prices for both RON95 petrol and diesel will financially burden the public with higher prices elsewhere, Kadir said a failure to inform the people how the money is used will make it appear that the government was simply shifting its problems onto its citizens.

"From the outside, the government appears spendthrift. Travel expenses from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's trips abroad since five years ago is already RM44.07 million!

"And how much was spent on renovations and repairs at the official residence?" he wrote on his blog today.

The RM44 million amount was revealed in Parliament in July.

Najib yesterday said the subsidy rationalisation exercise will save the government RM1.1 billion this year and possibly RM3.3 billion in 2014 should oil prices remain stable.

Malaysia runs a relatively high government debt of 53 per cent of gross domestic product and has one of Asia's highest household debt levels.

Ratings agency Fitch cut its outlook on Malaysia's A-minus sovereign debt to negative from stable in July, citing a lack of reform to tackle rising debt. 


Pakatan first, BN minister says to footing fuel bill challenge

Posted: 03 Sep 2013 02:20 AM PDT

(MM) - Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders should offer to pay for their own fuel consumption before telling Barisan Nasional (BN) ministers to do the same, Umno's Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today.

The tourism and culture minister advised his political foes to lead by example before making such "idiotic" suggestions after the federal government raised petrol and diesel prices at the pumps this morning.

"I want him to tell Selangor mentri besar and his excos, the chief minister of Penang, and the Kelantan mentri besar to pay using their own money as well," Nazri (picture) told reporters here, referring to PKR's Rafizi Ramli who floated the idea earlier today.

"They should start first, do not just talk. We were not the ones who suggested this, because we serve the people," he added.

PKR, DAP and PAS have formed a loose pact to counter the 13-party BN coalition and are in control of three out of 13 states nationwide, that is in Selangor, Penang and Kelantan.

Rafizi had suggested Cabinet members including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should now pay for their own fuel since the government had claimed that undeserving parties were enjoying the benefits of a blanket fuel subsidy that it cut today.

The demand was made in protest against Najib's announcement to cut RON95 and diesel subsidies by 20 sen a litre yesterday, in a move the opposition lawmaker claimed would burden most Malaysians.

Rafizi had also blamed the fuel subsidy cut on the prime minister's weak financial policies.

The PKR strategy director had also questioned why Najib chose not to do away with hefty subsidies given to private companies such as independent power producers, which is estimated to be around RM13 billion, and instead "took the easy way out" by slashing public fuel subsidies.

The pump price for RON95 petrol was increased to RM2.10 per litre and diesel RM2.00 today, up from RM1.90 and RM1.80 respectively.

In his announcement yesterday, Najib said a 20 sen per litre reduction on the RON95 fuel and diesel would save the government RM3.3 billion beginning next year, bringing the total amount of fuel subsidies to RM24.8 billion per annum.

Anticipating a public backlash, the Najib administration said it will announce measures to ease the burden of the lower and middle-income group in the 2014 Budget, including the possibility of increasing the amount of the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) cash handout from the current RM500. 


Does Pak Samad think himself a ‘big shot’ to resist cops, asks minister

Posted: 03 Sep 2013 02:15 AM PDT

(MM) - Wanted by the police, national poet Datuk A. Samad Said should voluntarily turn himself in for questioning unless he thinks he is a "big shot", minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today.

The minister of tourism and culture said being a national laureate did not exempt A. Samad from the law, after the police sought the latter's cooperation in the public display of the controversial Sang Saka Malaya flag during a street celebration here on the eve of Malaysia's National Day last week.

Two activists were detained yesterday in relation to the pre-independence flag.

"Everybody is the same... even if we're ministers, if we did something wrong and the police called us up, then we should've come," Nazri told reporters after a ministry event here.

"Who does A. Samad Said think he is?... Does he think he is some kind of a big shot?" he asked.

The police have been hunting for A. Samad (picture), popularly known as Pak Samad, for his purported role in flying the Sang Saka flag in the countdown to the country's 56th independence anniversary on August 30.

But A. Samad was quoted by the Astro Awani news portal earlier today to have denied he was running away from the police or that he was in hiding.

He insisted that he had not received any formal notification, the news portal reported.

The Malay Mail Online was not able to reach A. Samad for verification.

State news wire Bernama had earlier today reported the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, calling A. Samad to surrender so to help the authorities with their investigation on the purportedly seditious act.

Police reportedly detained student activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim and activist Hishamuddin Rais over the same August 30 incident last night but have since released the duo.

The Sang Saka Malaya is a two-striped red-and-white flag with a crescent moon and an 11-pointed star in the top left corner.

It was used by the first Malay party, Kesatuan Melayu Malaya (KMM) formed in 1938, that had fought against the colonial British for the country's independence.

This is the second time in two years where authorities have taken action under the Sedition Act 1948, on those caught holding up the Sang Saka Malaya flag.

Last September, the police arrested two youths for allegedly flying the Sang Saka Malaya flag during the countdown to the 55th National Day on August 30. 


Fuel hike is justified

Posted: 03 Sep 2013 02:08 AM PDT

The increase is a proactive step for fiscal consolidation and economic survival.

Athi Shankar, FMT

A NGO has argued that the fuel price hike of RM 0.20 for RON95 petrol and diesel was to save the country's economy.

Sensible and Ethical Malaysians United Team (Semut) president Huan Cheng Guan attributed the fuel price hike partly on the current Syrian conflict, stressing that global oil price can reach US$150 per barrel now.

He also pointed out that Malaysia was officially not an oil exporting country as 90% of its production was for domestic use.

He argued that the fuel price hike was the government's proactive step for fiscal consolidation to increase market confidence, once fiscal deficit had been reduced.

"It's not political issue but about Malaysia's economic status and survival," said Huan in a statement here today.

He claimed that the Putrajaya administration had to cut subsidies and increase fuel price to avoid the country from being punished by international rating agencies and foreign investors for failing to tackle structural problems, such as high rate of subsidies.

The federal government has allocated RM24.8 billion this year on fuel subsidies and the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has announced that the country would save RM1.1 billion until end of the year with the recent hike

The government would save up to RM3.3 billion per annum while it still subsidises 63 sen per liter for RON95 petrol and 80 sen per liter for diesel.

The government's target is to reduce Malaysian's fiscal deficit to 3% by 2015.

Huan pointed out that the petrol subsidies were meant for the poor and low-income group, citing the government's plan to increase its BR1M budget next year. This year's budget was RM2.9 billion.

He said government had subsidised between RM25 billion and RM30 billion to allow Malaysians and foreigners to enjoy cheaper fuel, gas, and water.

But, he said such subsidies to lower prices of goods and services were also enjoyed by undeserving rich Malaysians and foreigners.

He also claimed that the main beneficiaries of subsidised diesel were owners of Vietnamese and Thai fishing vessels, and the Malaysian fishermen who sell their subsidised allocation to them.

He said the subsidy reduction was also to discourage smugglers from Thailand and Indonesia.

"Hence reducing subsidy is a vital move in the right direction to arrest the leakages from country's income.

"If the government did not take this move, the other alternative would be to increase taxes," said Huan.



Four years on, Pakatan still awaiting registration

Posted: 03 Sep 2013 02:03 AM PDT

We have yet to receive an official letter from the ROS on our application as a political party, says PKR's Saifuddin Nasution

Alyaa Azhar, FMT

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution said Pakatan Rakyat's application as a political coalition remains unprocessed by the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

"According to the ROS' key performance indicator (KPI), they are to update applicants on the status of the application no later than 30 days.

"However, from the date they received our application documents, we have yet to receive an official letter from the ROS with regards to Pakatan Rakyat's application status," he said.

Pakatan Rakyat filed its application to the ROS on Nov 30, 2009.

Saifuddin added that they knew about the application's status through media statements by the ROS and asked why the ROS has not given them an answer in written form.

"What's preventing them from responding via an official letter? They should tell us what else needs to be completed. The ROS should facilitate registration," said Saifuddin.

Old application

He also said that the coalition had held its annual general meeting (AGM) on Feb 25, 2011, electing Tumpat MP Kamaruddin Jaafar to replace Zaid Ibrahim who had resigned.

"After our AGM, we went to the ROS and sent them a letter. However, in a verbal response, they said that we cannot have an AGM to change a pro-tem committee member because no decision has been made on the old application," he said.



‘Price hike will do more good in long run’

Posted: 03 Sep 2013 01:59 AM PDT

MCA president Chua Soi Lek says the move to increase the price of petrol and diesel is part of the government's subsidy rationalisation initiative to help only those who are in need.

Leven Woon, FMT

The government's move to increase the price of RON 95 petrol and diesel by 20 sen will do more good for the country in long run, MCA president Chua Soi Lek said today.

Chua said the increase would help cut the government's fuel subsidy of RM24.8 billion this year which could be redistributed to the poor.

"The government was previously subsidising 83 sen for every litre of RON95 petrol and RM1 for diesel costing the government up to RM24.8 billion last year benefiting the poor, the rich and also the foreigners.

"It has been the party's stand that subsidy should only benefit the poor," he said in a statement today.

Chua also welcomed the prime minister's decision to raise the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) aid in Budget 2014.

"Since the inflation is still manageable, the increase in government aid will help to cushion the impact of subsidy cut and hope that more aid will be introduced to help the poor," he said.



Hishamuddin and Adam freed on police bail

Posted: 02 Sep 2013 04:46 PM PDT

Two activists arrested last night for flying the Sang Saka Malaya flag at Dataran Merdeka were released at 3am after having their statements recorded.

K Pragalath, FMT

Political activist Hishamuddin Rais and student activist Adam Adli who were detained at the Dangi Wangi police station last night for involvement in flying the Sang Saka Malaya flag at Dataran Merdeka were released at 3am.

Hishamuddin was detained at 9pm and Adam at 10pm. They were released on police bail after their statements were recorded.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar urged national laureate A Samad Said to surrender to police for his involvement in the gathering where the flag was flown.

Samad also recited a poetry when trying to fly the flag.

Kuala Lumpur CID chief Ku Chin Wah confirmed the incident to Bernama and said the duo were detained for sedition and causing public mischief.

Last Friday, a group flew the flag on the eve of the 56th Merdeka Day celebrations at Dataran Merdeka.

The red and white flag with 12 yellow stars was used by a left political coalition Putera-AMCJA in 1947.

The flag created a controversy when it made its appearance in 2007.

Earlier, Kuala Lumpur police chief Mohmad Salleh announced the setting up of a team to investigate the incident.


Butt out of police business, NGOs told

Posted: 02 Sep 2013 04:37 PM PDT

They should not get involved in the tussle between police and gangsters, says ex-government prosecutor Shamsul Sulaiman

Lisa J. Ariffin, FMT

A former deputy public prosecutor has urged all NGOs to "stay out of the way" of the police and Home Ministry's efforts in combating crime.

Shamsul Sulaiman said this in response to Malaysian Community Crime Care Association (MCCCA) pro-term committee member, V Ravindran, who wanted the police to make public the names of the most wanted gang leaders as a commitment towards fighting crime.

"It's a personal concern of mine that a lot of these NGOs are politically motivated. When the (Home) Minister does something, they push him to do some more. When he does something good, they say it's too late. That's the part which is not nice about the whole thing," he told FMT.

"They should just let the Minister to do what he wants to do and stay out of the way," he added.

Shamsul lauded the Ministry's move to release the names of gangs and their symbols as a way to prevent the public from becoming "potential victims" of gang violence.

"As long as they (the gangs) remain secret, they can put their symbols around areas which say 'don't come into my turf'," he said.

"Members of the public who are oblivious would carry on with their lives and may be potential victims (when they walk into a gang's turf)," he added.

Shamsul believed that the release of gang symbols would help suppress gang activities as the public would easily recognise them and make a report for the police to take action.

He said there was no necessity as yet to release the names of gang leaders as "you don't want the police to be flooded with calls just because you a gang leader walking home and is not doing anything particular".

Naming gang leaders defamatory

Meanwhile, PKR lawyer Latheefa Koya said that releasing the names of gang leaders could be construed as defamation in law.

"Being a member of a gang itself if not an offense but to say that this person is a gang member is wrong," she said.

"I think it is not proper to release those names unless they have been charged properly by the police," she added.

Latheefa said that mere detention does not imply the detainee is in the wrong.

"Just because they've been detained and then saying they are wanted people in criminal activities is wrong. But saying this person is detained for the purpose of charging is different."



‘First World’ and no water don’t mix

Posted: 02 Sep 2013 01:54 PM PDT

And what "world class" when we can't even have water flowing through our taps? What kelas dunia when there is an image of "dried up" residents running after lorry tankers, buckets in hand?

Syed Nadzri Syed Harun, The Malaysian Reserve

At the height of the water crisis that hit Malacca in 1991, Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik declared that although he was not responsible for the fiasco, he was accountable for it. Those were not just a play of words from the chief minister at that time. It was, I believe, quipped in a true sense of owning up to the liability as a person in a position of power, of sheer torture felt by the people in the state who had to be without proper piped water supply for months.

It was followed with a revamp of the state water management not long after that. The Durian Tunggal Dam managed by the Malacca Water Authority had dried up without warning, causing 600,000 people to suffer. And as a reporter based in Malacca, I saw how they suffered.

Now 22 years on, I began to see over the weekend a reappearance of the dreadful nightmare when more than one million people in the Klang Valley had no water supply in their homes and offices because, as everyone was told, there was a diesel contamination along the supply line. Is anyone accountable? Or responsible? Please don't say the situation is unlike Malacca as it is not expected to be prolonged.

The truth is it is worse. And please have a sense of accountability or responsibility, because the incovenience, anguish and distress when taps run dry without any notification is unbearable. Just imagine if you have a family of six, including babies. You turn on the tap first thing in the morning to prepare breakfast and there is no water. And you live in a flat on the sixth floor.

I saw that before in Malacca and I am seeing it again the last few days in the Klang Valley, a modern metropolis that is often said to be in the "First World" league. Pardon me? First World and no water just don't connect.

And what "world class" when we can't even have water flowing through our taps? What kelas dunia when there is an image of "dried up" residents running after lorry tankers, buckets in hand?

I passed by a neighbourhood restaurant in Subang Jaya early Saturday which serves delectable thosai and roti canai and what I saw was two or three of its staffers standing just outside the main door, staring blankly outwards with the entire shop in darkness probably to signify that there was no business for the day.

My greetings to them was answered with a grunt. I saw a laundry shop a few doors away that had its shutters closed although it was already past opening hours. The same with the hairdressing salon in the block. I saw a 7-Eleven store that had more customers than usual. I went inside and noticed that all of those queuing up at the cashier's counter were buying bottles of water, including a grandmother who could hardly carry two 1.5-litre bottles on her own.


Pump price hike will push inflation to 2.2%, says RHB Research

Posted: 02 Sep 2013 01:46 PM PDT

It also said there was a likelihood that the government may implement the goods & services tax (GST) that could add further pressure to inflation in 2015.


Malaysia's move to raise pump prices for petrol and diesel will push the inflation rate further to 2.2% from the current 2%, RHB Research Institute said in a report today.

It said given that the weights for petrol and diesel account for about 7.5% and 0.2% respectively of the consumer price index (CPI), the 20 sen increase in fuel prices were likely to contribute to a one-off increase of 0.78 and 0.02 percentage points to the CPI in September.

However, the research house opined that the effects to consumers would be muted.

"As in the past, the impact on inflation is expected to be one-off and the pass through effect is not likely to be strong, in our view. Consequently, we expect inflation rate to jump from our earlier forecast of +2.1% y-o-y in September to +3.0%," it said in the report.

The inflation rate was expected to trend up and reach a high of +3.5% in December, before tapering off, it said.

The research house has upped its CPI projection  for 2013 to an estimate of +2.2% compared to an earlier projection of +2%.

Potentially, the government could raise the fuel prices again six to nine months down the road and twice for 2014.

The move, if it materialises, could push inflation higher to around +3.2% in 2014 compares with its  current projection of +2.2%.



Malaysia cuts subsidies on fuel

Posted: 02 Sep 2013 11:52 AM PDT

Malaysia has cut fuel subsidies for the first time in more than two years as it tries to cut its budget deficit. 

(BBC) - Some analysts said that the cut in fuel subsidies was an attempt by the government to boost investor confidence to ensure that they don't pull out of the country.

The subsidy on petrol has been cut by 20 sen (6 cents; 4 pence) a litre and on diesel by 20 to 80 sen a litre.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said the cuts would result in savings of about 3.3bn ringgit ($1bn; £650m) a year.

The government spent 24bn ringgit on fuel subsidies last year, which contributed to a widening budget deficit.

Malaysia's budget deficit, which is the amount the government spent above the amount it raised, was 4.5% of its gross domestic product (GDP) last year.

Ratings agency Fitch cited the high budget deficit as one of the factors that led it to lower the outlook on Malaysia's credit rating to negative from stable in late August.

"It's a process of fiscal consolidation," Mr Najib said. "The market will feel more confident if we can bring down our fiscal deficit."

'Defending the ringgit'

The change also comes at a time when Asia's emerging economies have been hit by an investor pull- out.

The pull-out has been triggered by speculation that the US central bank will soon begin to cut back on the amount of money it is pumping into the economy.

That has hurt currencies and stocks in these countries, including Malaysia, which has seen its currency, the ringgit, decline nearly 10% against the US dollar since May.

Some analysts said that the cut in fuel subsidies was an attempt by the government to boost investor confidence to ensure that they don't pull out of the country.


Should Palanivel stay or go? BN can’t decide

Posted: 02 Sep 2013 11:43 AM PDT

(MMO) - "Palanivel must be firm and have his own principles with his decision to step down in 2016 even though he has received overwhelming support from the branch chairmen and members, or else the community will not believe in him as a leader," 

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel's hint that he may stay on beyond 2016 as party president has received mixed reactions.

MIC strategic director S. Vell Paari said if Palanivel continued to receive huge support from the branch chairmen and members, then he would have to follow the mandate to remain as president to strengthen the party.

"If the majority (of the branch chairmen) wants him to continue, he has the right to do so for the sake of the party," Vell Paari said.

MIC Youth chief T. Mohan said the majority of the branch chairmen had stated their stand.

"We have to abide by the mandate given by the members and will support him to chart the future direction of the party," he said.

He said the new mission was to strengthen the party by building support and creating greater confidence among the public.

Asked whether a decision by Palanivel to stay on would cause a rift in the party, Mohan said there were no factions within MIC.

"There is no Team A or Team B in MIC. The leadership is committed to making improvements to the party collectively," he said.

"We will give him full support as we believe he is a confident and genuine leader."

People's Progressive Party (PPP) national information chief Datuk A. Chandrakumanan said people should not "jump the gun" by quickly judging Palanivel on his statement.

"Palanivel must be firm and have his own principles with his decision to step down in 2016 even though he has received overwhelming support from the branch chairmen and members, or else the community will not believe in him as a leader," he said.

MCA vice-president Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai said Palanivel should keep his word and step down in 2016.

"No one can stop him from contesting the party's top post again but he must fulfill his promise or people will lose trust in him," he said.

It was reported an understanding had been reached between Palanivel and his deputy, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, that he would step down as the president in 2016, and

Dr Subramaniam would lead MIC into the next general election, due in 2018.

However, following mediation by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, a deal was struck between Palanivel and Dr Subramaniam to avert a contest.

Najib managed to pacify both parties and they agreed to a peace deal and an amicable transfer of power in March 2016.

Thousands Face Deportation in Malaysian Immigration Crackdown

Posted: 02 Sep 2013 09:10 AM PDT

A shadow of a migrant enforcement officer is cast on a makeshift shelter, built by suspected illegal migrant workers, as he tries to break a locked door during a crackdown on illegal migrant workers in Nilai, outside Kuala Lumpur September 1, 2013. 

(Voice of America) - The U.S. Department of State placed Malaysia on its Tier 2 human trafficking Watch List for the fourth consecutive year this year, because the government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for ending trafficking. 

More than 2,000 immigrants in Malaysia have spent the night in detention centers in a nationwide crackdown on illegal immigration that authorities say could deport hundreds of thousands of people.

Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the press the 2,433 detainees were among approximately 8,000 people examined by authorities in dozens of operations that began Sunday.

"This shows the seriousness of the Home Ministry and Immigration Department [to flush out the illegal immigrants]. Ours is not a spur-of-the-moment action," Ahmad Zahid said Monday, as quoted by Malaysia's national news agency, Bernama.

The Home minister told reporters that so far, authorities have detained 717 Indonesian nationals, 555 Burmese nationals, 387 Bangladeshi nationals and 229 Nepali nationals. He said authorities also detained immigrants from Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, China, Nigeria and Thailand.

Officials say more than 400,000 immigrants could be affected by the operation. Many of them hold low-paying construction and plantation jobs, while others work as domestic helpers or in massage parlors.

Thanks, but no thanks

Their labor has helped build Malaysia into Southeast Asia's third largest economy. But as the economy has weakened, concerns have grown among some Malaysians that foreigners could push down wages and drive up crime.

The government has vacillated in its approach to illegal immigration over the past decade, from whipping and fining people for working illegally in Malaysia, to registering 1.3 million of an estimated two million undocumented foreigners for an amnesty program in 2011.

Read more at: 

Ex-minister blasts The Star for touting low numbers for ‘Tanda Putera’

Posted: 02 Sep 2013 08:45 AM PDT 

(MMO) - "However, it must be remembered that those who watched the film are society's selected, viewers who are of quality regardless of how small, people who care to understand and judge out nation's history. Among them will be our leaders, small and large, of the future," said the former Utusan Malaysia journalist.

Former information minister Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin today slammed The Star newspaper for reporting poor turnouts for controversial film "Tanda Putera," alluding it to be a larger trend of alleged "self isolation" by the Chinese community.

Zainuddin also questioned the MCA-owned daily's motives in publishing a report yesterday that claimed there were not many moviegoers who went to watch the film, which is director Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba's take on Malaysia's turbulent history surrounding the May 13 riots in 1969.

"It is common for serious films based on true historical fact, that are not based on fantasy, to find it hard to get a response.

"However, it must be remembered that those who watched the film are society's selected, viewers who are of quality regardless of how small, people who care to understand and judge out nation's history. Among them will be our leaders, small and large, of the future," said the former Utusan Malaysia journalist.

Zainuddin, who maintains a blog called "Zamkata", further criticised The Star for allegedly taking a materialistic perspective on the government-funded film that cost nearly RM5 million, claiming that the daily would not have attempted to put down "Tanda Putera" had it not "embodied DAP's spirit and doctrine".

"We should not be concerned over the large production cost and make it a big issue. The value of 'Tanda Putera' in planting the seeds of understanding our national history, of the betrayal and racial development and to instil patriotism, is greater than the value of money," he claimed.

"Tanda Putera" was originally slated to be released on September 13 last year, but its showing was shelved after it sparked controversy over how it allegedly portrayed the Chinese community as antagonists in relation to the deadly May 13 racial riots.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had categorised the film as "well-researched" and reflects the "reality" of the situation then.

But Shuhaimi has previously clarified that it was a work of fiction despite earlier vouching for its "historical accuracy".

Zainuddin also questioned the patriotism at The Star, saying that while other mainstream newspapers carried front-page splashes on the Merdeka Day celebrations on Sunday, the English daily instead opted to focus on plans to continue with construction of the second Penang Bridge in their Penang edition.

"However, I hope the public do not take seriously the efforts by some parties to isolate themselves from the nation's mainstream especially in the field of education," he said, in an apparent swipe at the Chinese community's fierce defence of the vernacular system.

"Let the Chinese continue to strive through the media and other avenues for self isolation. Leave them with their own identity, but what is important is for the government to strengthen the national mainstream especially in giving a high quality in education," he said. 

Upset Malaysians dismiss Putrajaya cash handout, believe fuel price hike precursor to more bad news

Posted: 02 Sep 2013 08:41 AM PDT 

People queue up at petrol station to refuel their tanks in Petaling Jaya. 

(TMI) - Well, the government has got nothing to worry about now because the elections are over.

Thousands of outraged Malaysians queued up for fuel last night ahead of a price hike, venting their anger at Putrajaya for cutting subsidies while promising more cash handouts to offset a 20-sen rise in pump prices.

Most of them when met in petrol stations in the Klang Valley pointed out they are not eligible for Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) cash handouts which the Najib government had promised to increase in Budget 2014.

That special handout of RM500 was paid to some five million households earning RM3,000 a month and below

They also felt that the pump price rise was sudden and suspect more bad news in the form of the controversial goods and services tax (GST) will soon follow. The tax has been on the drawing board for the past decade but has yet to be law.

Before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the fuel price hike that would save the government RM3.3 billion annually, RON95 was sold at RM1.90 per litre while diesel was RM1.80 per litre. After midnight it was RM2.10 and RM2.00 respectively.

A businessman who wanted to be known only as YK said the price hike will definitely burden those from the lower-income group.

BR1M, he said, will not make a difference as not everyone is eligible for the special handout.

"It does not make a difference to me because I am not eligible for it. The cost of living will still go up for me," the 45-year-old told The Malaysian Insider.

YK, along with insurance agent Nor, 34, were among those who queued up for at least 45 minutes at the Bandar Puteri petrol station in Puchong last night following the prime minister's announcement.

Nor, who is also not eligible for BR1M,  said the hike would really hit those who had families.

"Everyone knows the cost of living will go up when the price of petrol increases. It came as quite a shock to me (the announcement)," said the mother-of-two.

"It is not fair. Not everyone gets the BR1M. Although it won't make a significant change, it is still something."

YK agreed, noting that from today onwards, everything, from food to household items, would cost at least 20 sen more.

Read more at: 

Police detain Hishammuddin and Adam Adli at Dang Wangi

Posted: 02 Sep 2013 08:38 AM PDT 

(Astro Awani) - Political activist Hishamuddin Rais and student activist Adam Adli have been detained at the Dang Wangi District Police Headquarters on Monday to facilitate investigations on the flying of a flag created by irresponsible quarters during the 56th Merdeka Day celebrations at Dataran Merdeka.

Kuala Lumpur CID chief Datuk Ku Chin Wah confirmed the incident to Bernama and said the duo were detained under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code.

The incident occurred last Friday, when a group flew the flags to purportedly replace the Jalur Gemilang, on the night of the 56th independence celebrations at Dataran Merdeka.

Prior to this, Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Mohmad Salleh had announced the setting up of a team to investigate the incident.


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