- Malaysia extends controversial affirmative action
- Najib: Bumiputera economic empowerment policy does not deny rights of others
- Najib launches new economic agenda for bumiputras
- IGP: More Malays than Indians arrested under Ops Cantas
- No hidden agenda in Lim wishing to meet Uthaya
- ‘Utusan has lost its touch’
- Penang police, MCMC to investigate CM's death threat
- MCA’s ‘battle within’ due to Cabinet post
- In Umno blogs, a window into a party divided
- Give more ads to Utusan, says Najib
- All for Love of Sabah: Jeffrey to ditch STAR
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted: 13 Sep 2013 01:58 PM PDT
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.
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.
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.
They will walk from 8am to 5pm daily and stop at 13 pre-determined locations. They are expected to reach Putrajaya on Oct 4.
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.
Prior to joining STAR he was with PKR which he dumped in a hurry.
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