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Malaysia extends controversial affirmative action

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 05:07 PM PDT

(AFP) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Saturday announced fresh measures to benefit the country's ethnic Malay majority despite an earlier pledge to reform the controversial affirmative action policy.

Analysts said the announcement, made live on national television, aimed to rally Najib's United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) ahead of party elections but could hurt an already slowing economy.

Najib announced a series of measures aimed at offering more business and training opportunities and affordable housing for Muslim Malays and other indigenous groups, collectively known as "bumiputra" or "sons of the soil", who make up 68 per cent of the country's 28 million people.

"If we do not bring up the economic participation of the bumiputras, the country will not be able to achieve developed nation status by 2020," Najib said.

"Certainly we are doing what is fair, we are doing what is right and we are doing what is equitable."

Malays and other indigenous groups have benefited from privileges, including reserved university slots and government jobs and contracts, since the 1970s, introduced to close a wealth gap with the Chinese minority.

But critics, including a growing number of Malays, say the affirmative action policy reduces the competitiveness of Southeast Asia's third largest economy and is abused by the elites to benefit themselves.

In 2010, a year after taking office, Najib vowed an overhaul of racial preferences as part of wider economic reforms.

But since then, he has only made limited moves, including some changes to liberalise the banking and services sectors, as he faces resistance, especially from his own Malay-based party.

Ibrahim Suffian of independent pollster Merdeka Centre said Saturday's announcement showed any deeper reforms were further "postponed".

"He is shoring up support of the Malays, particularly business people and contractors," he told AFP. "He's appealing to the base."

Najib is not expected to face a leadership challenge in the UMNO elections next month but is under pressure from hardliners to stand up for Muslim Malay rights.

The mostly non-Muslim Chinese, who account for 25 per cent of the population, continued to vote against Najib's Barisan Nasional coalition in the May general election -- a trend that began in 2008.

UMNO is the dominant party in the multi-racial Barisan coalition which has ruled the country since independence in 1957 but whose performance in the last two elections has slipped.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs said Najib's reluctance to dismantle the affirmative action policy would harm Malaysia's economy in the long-run.

"It will definitely have a negative impact on the economy," he said. "The announcement today further enhances the role of government in the economy."

Last month, Malaysia lowered its economic growth forecast for the year to 4.5-5.0 per cent, down from 5.0-6.0 per cent, amid weak export data.


Najib: Bumiputera economic empowerment policy does not deny rights of others

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 04:56 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has urged the people not to misconstrue the Bumiputera economic empowerment policy, saying its implementation does not trample on the interests of other groups or deny their rights.

On the other hand, he said, it is implemented in line with the government's dessire to continue to create new wealth so that all Malaysians can share the benefits in a fair and equitable manner.

"Certainly! We are doing what is fair, we are doing what is right, and we are doing what is equitable.

"It means that we do not have any evil intent or prejudice against the other races," he said at the launch of the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Council here today.

Najib stressed that the government is responsible for all Malaysians of all levels regardless of background, whether they are Bumiputeras or non-Bumiputeras, Muslims or non-Muslims.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said history has proven that since the implementation of the New Economic Policy, not just the Bumiputeras but all Malaysians have shared the benefits of the nation's economic development.

"Clearly, we have done this not by taking, or denying, the rights of anyone, but through the creation of new wealth and maintaining sustainable economic growth," he said.

The Prime Minister said since Independence, all plans and policies related to Bumiputeras have been formulated with the nation's multi-racial composition in mind.

No one can deny the Bumiputeras' central position in the national agenda, he said, adding any national initiative which does not take into account or ignores the Bumiputera agenda would not be fair and equitable.

Najib stressed the importance for all quarters to understand that the government is always aware of the Bumiputera agenda as the national agenda.

"This is because, if the rights of the majority Bumiputeras are not taken care of and they feel threatened or marginalised, the country will not enjoy peace and stability, and we would not be able to achieve our dream of becoming an advanced and peaceful nation by 2020," he said.

Najib also criticised some politicians who he said are constantly stoking the racial fires, putting fear in the people.

"Like it or not, if we are not careful we can be influenced by outside sentiments through these internal adventurers and puppet masters, we will also feel the heat, and if they are not curtailed, Malaysia as a sovereign and independent nation will in the end be destroyed," he said. 


Najib launches new economic agenda for bumiputras

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 04:48 PM PDT

Najib at the Bumiputra economic empowerment agenda.

(Bernama) - The Government on Saturday announced new measures and strategies to empower the Bumiputera economy, with the Bumiputera Economic Council (MEB), to be chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak himself, to be set up soon.

Najib said the MEB, which will replace the Bumiputera Agenda Action Council (MTAB), would implement five main strategies as a continuation of the implementation of the Bumiputera economic empowerment agenda.

Speaking at the launch of the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Council today, Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said the focus areas will include enhancing Bumiputera equity ownership in the corporate sector as well as asset ownership.

"The Government heard the cries for help from the Bumiputeras regarding their level of participation in socio-economic development programmes," he said.

One of the main measures in this strategy is the setting of targets for all Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Government-Linked Companies (GLCs), including for projects awarded to vendors.

Najib said this information has to be included in the CEOs' Key Performance Index (KPI), adding all ministries will also create a Bumiputera Development Unit (UPB) responsible for formulating proposals and implementing Bumiputera agenda initiatives.

To enhance Bumiputera equity ownership in the corporate sector, the Skim Amanah Saham Bumiputera 2 (ASB2) will be launched by Permodalan Nasional Bhd with 10 billion units, while Ekuiti Nasional Bhd (Ekuinas) will take over the role of steering the Skim Jejak Jaya Bumiputera to assist Bumiputera-owned companies to be listed on Bursa Malaysia.

"To ensure the Bumiputera socio-economic development agenda is effectively implemented, the delivery system will also be strengthened to create an efficient, comprehensive and constructive ecosystem," said Najib.

Najib said various measures have also been outlined to help Bumiputeras, who still lag behind in the ownership of non-finance assets such as houses, industrial premises and commercial complexes.

For this purpose, Syarikat Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia (PR1MA) and Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd in cooperation with state governments will build more affordable houses for Bumiputeras nationwide.

The role of UDA Corporation will also be strengthened to help develop properties including houses, business complexes and spaces, as well as industrial and commercial buildings in urban areas, said Najib.

He added that GLCs and Government-Linked Investment Companies (GLICs)

involved in property will also give emphasis to Bumiputera property development especially of housing, shophouses and commercial premises.

To optimise the value and benefit of non-finance assets such as property for Muslim Bumiputeras, the Yayasan Wakaf Malaysia will be turned into a corporate wakaf entity.

Meanwhile, the roles of property institutions such as Pelaburan Hartanah Bhd, Majlis Amanah Rakyat and Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd will be strengthened in order to develop or acquire commercial and industrial properties, especially in strategic locations nationwide.


IGP: More Malays than Indians arrested under Ops Cantas

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 04:44 PM PDT

(The Star) - Police have arrested over 15,000 Malays as compared to only 3,000 Indian suspects under Ops Cantas so far, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

He was responding to questions from reporters over claims that the force was racial profiling criminals and only targeting a specific race in their crackdown operations.

"I've heard these slanderous comments. 'Police are racists.' 'Only targeting one race'. This is not true.

"For your information, under Ops Cantas, most people that we have arrested are Malays.

We have arrested 15,000 Malays while only 3,000 Indians have been arrested. How is that racist?" Khalid said on Saturday.

On the recent shootout that killed two Indian men who are alleged gang members in Malacca on Sept 12, Khalid said the officers involved acted appropriately.

"Johor police had issued photos of the two suspects saying they were wanted and that they were violent and armed. 

"We managed to track them down in Malacca based on people's information and when we wanted to make arrests, they opened fire.

"If they act violently against us, what choice do we have?  Were people expecting us to 'berpantun' with them?" he said.

He affirmed that race was not a factor when it came to apprehending criminals, saying "I don't care if you are Indian or Chinese or Malay. If you are on the wrong side of the law, you will be prosecuted." he said.


No hidden agenda in Lim wishing to meet Uthaya

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 04:18 PM PDT

M Kulasegaran says Guan Eng was sincere in asking for proper medical treatment to be given to the Hindraf leader, and not to drum up Indian support.

(FMT) - DAP vice chairman M Kulasegaran debunked a widely-circulated SMS accusing Lim Guan Eng of harbouring a hidden agenda when he requested to meet P Uthayakumar in prison.

The SMS reads: 'DAP's Lim Guan Eng intention to visit Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar in Kajang jail, all of sudden is a hidden agenda to fish for Indian delegates' votes in the run up to DAP's CEC elections on 29.9.13.

'All delegates are strongly advised not to vote the father and son dynasty. Please forward – From Selangor DAP delegates," it said, in an obvious reference to Lim and his father Kit Siang.

Kula said the allegation is baseless as Lim had simply urged the authorities to provide proper medical treatment to Uthayakumar after reports emerged that he has suffering from severe back pains.

He said the the DAP party secretary-general's statement was made on July 22, well before the party agreed to conduct fresh elections on Aug 15.

Kula said Lim sent an official letter to Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and prisons department head Zulkifli Omar on July 22 and 24expressing his wish to meet Uthayakumar.



‘Utusan has lost its touch’

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 04:09 PM PDT

In this first of a three-part series, former Utusan Melayu editor in chief Said Zahari touches on what the paper used to stand for and how it has deviated from its ideals

(FMT) - On July 21 1961, Utusan Melayu now Utusan Malaysia launched its first protest against Umno's involvement to be part of the publication. It was aimed at preventing unnecessary voices from the political party coming into the newspaper.

Said Zahari, 85, was the editor in chief and the man in charge of the paper together with several of his luminaries such as Usman Awang and Rosedin Yaakub fighting to secure freedom of the press that was important for the nation.

"During my time it was not just between Utusan Melayu and the government (Umno), we were still under British colonialism. Slogans we used were for freedom of the press and anti- colonialism," said Said Zahari.

"I am against intimidation of journalists and Utusan Melayu as a free and fair newspaper wanted to protect the rights of the journalists and uphold democracy. When Umno wanted to overtake Utusan Melayu, I opposed it and so did my colleagues. Then the problems started…were we against the government or against the owner of Utusan," said Said.

The author of several books added that his action was merely to defend freedom of expression as a whole and was not to hit out at Umno directly.

"For the British as the occupiers, they did not see it as an abuse of freedom because for them freedom of the press is to give away licenses to open up more newspapers.

"That was freedom for them. But as a journalist, I wanted other journalists to be critical in their writing so as generate more ideas and shape opinions on how to move forward as a nation.

"We did not aim the protest against Umno but we wanted to protect Utusan Melayu from being taken away for certain political agendas.

"Utusan Melayu (Utusan Malaysia) should be free from any political power that is what I and my colleagues fought for," said Said who has touched on the protest in his autobiography 'The Long Nightmare' launced recently.



Penang police, MCMC to investigate CM's death threat

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 01:58 PM PDT
A screen capture of an expanded window of MoonYue18's death-related tweet to Anwar.
Himansu Bhatt,
GEORGE TOWN (Sept 13): Penang police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi confirms that the police have started investigations into Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's death threat through Twitter.
Investigations, which is classified under Section 507 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation, will also involve the cooperation of the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
Abdul Rahim added that police will provide updates on the progress.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has lodged a police report on a tweet directed to him with an alleged death threat posted yesterday morning.
Lim made the report at 8pm last night at the George Town police headquarters in Patani Road here.
Interestingly enough, a check on the Twitter account of the sender showed that he or she had also sent a death-related message to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim the same day.  
Registered with the user name "MoonYue18", the account holder had directed a tweet with the wording "ini melayu langsi lu mati" (this Malay is a swaggerer you die) to Anwar.
It also had a link to a video uploaded on the Youtube website featuring a 10-minute anti-Anwar documentary on his dismissal from the government and Umno in 1998.
(Anwar was deputy prime minister and deputy Umno president when he was sacked and later jailed. He later became de facto leader of the new opposition party Keadilan.)  
The tweet was transmitted just a minute after the one that was sent to Lim.
The tweet to Lim, who is the DAP's secretary-general, carried the words "cheater!! u mati minggu depan (you will die next week)".
Lim had immediately responded by re-tweeting the message, saying: "This is a death threat."  
Speaking at a press conference at his office today, Lim said he has no knowledge on the identity of MoonYue18.
He said the account holder had directed messages to his Twitter account before, but there was nothing alarming in the past.
"This is a direct death threat," he said, adding that MoonYue18 has not referred to the matter again so far after the tweet was sent.
It is speculated that the message from MoonYue18 is related to the DAP's move to abide by the Registrar of Societies' directive to hold elections for the party's central executive committee again on Sept 29.
This is because the tweet had a link to an article on the matter.
In his police report, which was recorded by George Town CID chief ASP Wan Kamarul Azran, Lim said he was shocked when he read the message and became worried about his safety.  

Read more at:

MCA’s ‘battle within’ due to Cabinet post

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 11:56 AM PDT 

(FMT) - MCA president Chua Soi Lek is being pressured to step down immediately because some party members want to join the cabinet.

MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek is being pressured to step down not due to his party's dismal performance in the recently-concluded 13th general election, but because certain party leaders believe they deserve to be in the federal cabinet, said a MCA insider.

According to the insider, numerous anti-Chua movements emerged right after the election to ensure that Chua goes away together with his "no-cabinet-post" pledge.

"After the results were announced, Chua was firm with the decision. But there are certain individuals who are tempted to be in the cabinet, they are the people who are forcing Chua to resign.

"If they manage to pressure Chua to step down, most likely the person who takes over would be the second person in-line, which is Liow Tiong Lai, and he would review the pledge," he said.

The insider claimed that Liow's people had been moving all over the country to persuade local warlords to join him to oust Chua.

"We have 15 state assemblymen spread around many states, some of whom are newly-elected. So we offer them a term, if you join our team and pressure Chua to step down, you will get to become an exco, " he said.

The insider said if not for the personal agenda of these MCA leaders, it would not make any difference whether Chua quits now or six months later because the president had already pledged not to seek re-election.

Read more at: 

In Umno blogs, a window into a party divided

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 11:52 AM PDT 

(MMO) - A renewed and inward-facing agitation among Umno-friendly blogs hints that all is not well within the Malay nationalist party ahead of its polls.

Since the general election, prominent blogs aligned to the party such as bigdogdotcom and outsyedthebox began turning up their criticism against Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak. And with the party's election drawing nearer, their volume has only grown louder.

They are also not a force to be trifled with; ostensibly created to protect and promote the conservative interests of those aligned with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, they were partly credited for the campaign that saw Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi forced out to make way for Najib in 2009.

But the grace accorded to Najib since he took office in April 2009 has since ended. Now, the son of Malaysia's second prime minister has come in for the same treatment from the very blogs that helped put him in power.

And as much as Najib and his allies try to tell the public that Umno is doing well and remains united in the aftermath of Barisan Nasional's (BN) worst ever electoral performance, the increasing attacks in the blogs paints a much grimmer picture that the ruling Malay party is divided.

"They are testing the ground, to see if any attempt to challenge Najib would gain traction," said one a senior Umno leader, who spoke to The Malay Mail Online on condition of anonymity, when explaining the reasons behind the intensifying blog attacks on the Umno president.

Outwardly, Najib's position is seen as secure, with top party leaders calling for the presidency and deputy presidency to go uncontested. But this was done more for the sake of stability, the Umno leader said.

"If there is a challenge this party will be divided, and if we are, by the next general election we will be defeated," the Umno leader said.

Analysts noted that the Umno blogs had been critical of Najib's liberal economic and political policies but they remained negligible until after Election 2013, when the ruling BN coalition not only failed to regain its coveted parliamentary supermajority but also lost the popular vote for the first time since 1969 the last time it contested as the Alliance Party.

Now, not only have attacks in the blogs grown more vicious, but influential old guards such as Tun Daim Zainuddin, a former finance minister and confidante to Dr Mahathir, and former New Strait Times group editor-in-chief Datuk A. Kadir Jasin have joined in to publicly criticise Najib's tactics.

"They're not happy with how he ran the show. He had people who were more of a yes-man and smartasses around him and the old guards see this as weaknesses on the part of Najib," said another Umno leader, who also asked not to be named.

These are also long-standing grouses with the group. Daim and Kadir both have criticised the prime minister for retaining leaders that they say are past their prime.

Others believe that the needling was to remind Najib of whom Umno claims to champion — the Malays.

Read more at: 

Give more ads to Utusan, says Najib

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 11:51 AM PDT

Najib waving to Utusan Melayu staff during a tour of its new building while Hashim cheers him on (right). 

(The Star) - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak hopes that government agencies, government-linked companies and private bumiputra-owned companies would give more advertisement opportunities to Utusan Melayu.

"Utusan cannot depend on its circulation alone to generate revenue," Najib said when opening the Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd's new headquarters made up of three seven-storey office blocks along Jalan Enam, Chan Sow Lin here.

Najib said the occasion was meaningful not only to the Malay-language newspaper group but to the Malay cause as a whole.

"I have long wanted for Utusan Melayu to have not just a headquarters but one with a building that can be considered a symbol of the success of the Malays and the country," he said.

He said the paper, in which Umno holds a majority stake, would have to adapt while keeping to the principles it was founded with.

Utusan Melayu executive chairman Tan Sri Hashim Makaruddin said the amount of advertising spending by GLCs for Malay dailies was still relatively small compared to that of non-Malay papers.

He said Utusan Melayu was under attack by certain parties, including a small group of Malays who he said did not value the paper's struggle.

Hashim added that the new building would make the area synonymous with Utusan Melayu, and suggested that Jalan Enam be renamed as Jalan Utusan.

Najib agreed with the suggestion, to loud cheers from those gathered.

Utusan turned 75 on Jun 18 this year. It opened in 1938 on Queen Street in Singapore with its first paper sold at 10 sen a piece.

Earlier at the launch of the Walk4Malaysia programme in Putrajaya, Najib advised Malaysians to make walking a daily routine to improve their fitness.

As such, he hoped the programme, which covers a distance of 600km from Kuala Besut in Terengganu to Putrajaya, would spark interest among the people to embrace walking as an activity.

Najib's speech was read out by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

The programme involves 40 participants who will depart from Dataran Kuala Besut on Sept 22.

They will walk from 8am to 5pm daily and stop at 13 pre-determined locations. They are expected to reach Putrajaya on Oct 4. 


All for Love of Sabah: Jeffrey to ditch STAR

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 11:41 AM PDT

(Borneo Insider) - Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan is to move house again. This time the newly-registered Parti Cinta Sabah will become his latest political vehicle, after sojourns – all briefly – in numerous other parties.

Jeffrey (photo) is expected to abandon the Sarawak-based State Reform Party (STAR) which he used in the last state elections, now that PCS has been given the green light to operate.

PCS is led by protem president Dr Nicholas James Guntobon who is his close ally.

The Bingkor assemblyman when contacted Friday said, "Yes we will be moving into Cinta".

Dr Jeffrey, currently chairman of the STAR Sabah chapter, said they expected to make the transition to the new party by the year end after consulting with his counterparts in STAR in Sarawak.

He explained that he was thinking about moving to Parti Cinta because only Sarawakians could become members of STAR and in Sabah, they could only use the symbol for the elections.

"I will be talking to STAR officials about the development and will leave it to the protem Cinta committee to handle the changes," Dr Jeffrey said, adding that those in the protem committee were "my people."

A move to apply for a new party was made in late 2009 at the height of a power struggle between Dr Jeffrey and local Sabah PKR leaders that saw him eventually quitting PKR after the party sacked several of his key men for applying to form a new party.

Parti Cinta failed to be registered before the May 2013 elections and Dr Jeffrey had brought in Sarawak-based STAR by late 2010 after failing to take over some dormant local parties in Sabah.

Dr Jeffrey was the only STAR candidate to win a state seat in the elections while the rest including Dr Nicholas, who contested on a STAR ticket, lost with Pakatan Rakyat winning 11 of the 60 state and three of the 25 parliament seats.

Prior to joining STAR he was with PKR which he dumped in a hurry. 



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