Ahad, 8 September 2013

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Penang CM blasted for running down M’sia

Posted: 08 Sep 2013 06:14 AM PDT

NGO slams Guan Eng for washing dirty linen at international forum

Athi Shankar, FMT

A non-government organisation today slammed Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for often condemning the country and the Barisan Nasional federal government when he was abroad.

Sensible and Ethical Malaysians United Team (Semut) president Huan Cheng Guan demanded explanation from Lim on his politically-charged speeches frequently running down the country's investment climate and government competency in international forums.

He called on Lim to publicly show a detailed report on how each point raised in his speech at a Penang diaspora in Hong Kong last week can boost business confidence and attract potential investors and business partners to Malaysia.

"Failing which, Lim must be punished to personally bear the cost for the foreign trip," said Huan in a statement here today.

He wondered on whether Lim knew a special formula unknown to Harvard Business School  to increase the circular flow of income and offer solutions to all economic problems by running down one's own nation.

Huan said it was shocking to see a state leader on an official trade mission in foreign land running down his motherland instead of highlighting salient points to increase business confidence of potential investors.

Citing the Hong Kong speech, which was posted in his blog, Huan slammed the Bagan MP for accusing the Barisan Nasional federal government of being penny wise, pound foolish, corrupted, debt ridden, incompetent and playing up racial, religious, and extremist sentiments.

Huan blasted Lim for condemning the federal government on its fiscal policies, fuel price hike, debts and education policies before foreigners.

Huan alleged that Lim had also gave an impression to his international audience in Hong Kong and China that Malaysia was not a safe place by questioning the competence of police and stating that only 10% of the force was involved in investigation work.

"What is the point of going on an official mission to Hong Kong only to declare to the audience that Malaysia is less attractive, less safe and less competitive?

"The Chief Minister must explain on why he persisted in running down and shaming our country by giving public and international airing to such issues.

"Any sane person would not wash dirty linen before foreign public," Huan, formerly Batu Kawan MP, said in a statement today.

Guan Eng shames Malaysia

Huan said Lim was accompanied by an official state delegation to Hong Kong, which coincided with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) investment mission to Hong Kong and China led by Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Mustapa Mohamed.

Huan noted that in Lim's speech on Sep 5, he had said: "Many high technology knowledge-intensive foreign investors lament about the poor and declining quality of our workforce at all levels, especially the poor command of English. With BN's fixation on mediocrity instead of a culture of excellence, on political quotas rather than performance and on empty rhetoric rather than concrete action, Malaysia risks being left behind by not only high-tech foreign investors but also our best talents leaving to other countries like Hong Kong."

Huan pointed out that Lim had also said that "the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak can only convince the public of his sincerity and necessity of raising RON 95 petrol prices by 20 sen to save annual subsidy costs of RM3.3 billion by also implementing open competitive tenders and fighting corruption which would save RM51 billion annually. Without accompanying measures, that demonstrates the federal government's commitment against corruption, the public would easily see through such fake sincerity and counterfeit necessity to cut costs."

READ MORE HERE

 

Mind your own business, Anwar tells Khairy on shadow cabinet

Posted: 07 Sep 2013 06:40 PM PDT

(TMI) - Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has dismissed Sports and Youth Minister Khairy Jamaluddin's call on Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to form a shadow cabinet.

"He should do his job and it is better for him to focus on his duties first before interfering in PR matters," Anwar said yesterday, reported Malay daily Sinar Harian.

Khairy made the call echoing PAS Youth head Nasrudin Hassan who said Pakatan Rakyat should name their shadow ministers.

"Don't dilly-dally, do it without delay," said Khairy, who has been at the forefront of opposition on Anwar's recent call for a dialogue between Barisan Nasional and PR.

Anwar told Sinar Harian that his statement was misinterpreted by Umno leaders, adding that he had never endorsed a unity government.

Referring to Khairy, Anwar said, "He has not read my Merdeka message. My statement only referred to a dialogue.

"I had only touched on four issues which are governance, crime, economy and race relations."

 

Let the mobs rule then, says Zaid

Posted: 07 Sep 2013 06:37 PM PDT

(MM) - Malaysia may as well return to mob rule instead of settling disputes through the courts, a former de facto law minister suggested today as Islamic authorities here flex muscle before Tuesday's appeal hearing on the "Allah" word.

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim noted that powerful government religious agencies have been making "provocative and threatening statements" over the "Allah" row, placing immense pressure on judges that could affect their ability to try the case independently.

"Don't pressure our judges. Of late provocative and threatening statements are issued by those in authority with regard to the Allah issue," the one time minister in the Abdullah administration said on his Twitter handle, @zaidibrahim.

"If we don't want the court to decide on any matter pass a law in Parliament to that effect. Do it properly; not by intimidation," he said.

Islamic authorities here have been targeting non-Muslims in the run-up to the Home Ministry's legal push to ban the Catholic Church from publishing the Arabic word for god in the Bahasa Malaysia section of its local paper, the Herald.

Just days before the "Allah" row returns to court, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) hit out at non-Muslims for deigning to challenge the government for use of the term, and called upon Muslims to unite in a "holy struggle" against enemies of the faith.

In a nationwide sermon last Friday, JAKIM also laid claim to a list of words asides from "Allah" that it purports to be exclusive to Muslims and prohibited to non-Muslims.

The federal Islamic authority stressed that the ultimate goal of its opponents, which it failed to name, is to confuse Muslims and put every religion on equal terms, which will then lead to a "sea of apostasy".

Last week, an international Muslim organisation had alleged that the Catholic Church's fight to use "Allah" is part of a failed colonial-era strategy by Christians here to proselytise Muslims.

Last month, Muslim activists had alleged a global Christian evangelical conspiracy behind the "Allah" row, as they described a clandestine agenda to colonise Islamic souls and countries.

In a feature run in Malay daily Utusan Malaysia's weekend edition, Mingguan Malaysia, they claimed the Christian insistence on using the Arabic word "Allah" was out of a desire to proselytise to Muslims, even challenge the Federal Constitution and the Malay rulers.

But Zaid, a lawyer-turned-politician, reminded the government that it too was subject to the rule of law.

"If government don't respect the judges then we will have 1988 all over again," he said in a series of tweets earlier today, referring to the 1988 judicial crisis when the courts were stripped of their independence as a separate arm of government.

He added: "its the job of Police to maintain order, to defend decision."

The man who had once held high posts in both the ruling party and the opposition also referred to a news report today by The Malaysian Insider claiming government lawyers would be centring their argument to ban the Church from using "Allah" on the potential public disorder it may cause.

"The argument that a decision not approved by the people will lead to chaos is stupid and contemptuous. This is mob rule," Zaid said.

Religious tensions have been long been simmering in Malaysia in recent years, with the latest controversy surrounding a proposed law on child conversions to Islam deepening divisions between the Muslim majority and religious minorities.

The "Allah" row erupted in 2008 when the Home Ministry threatened to revoke the Herald's newspaper permit for its reference to God as "Allah", prompting the Catholic Church to sue the government for violating its constitutional rights.

Christians subsequently argued that the word predates Islam and that their right to use "Allah" in a non-Muslim context was affirmed by the government's own 10-point solution issued in 2011.

The 2009 High Court decision upholding the Catholic Church's constitutional right to use the word "Allah" had shocked many Muslims that consider the word to only refer to the Islamic God.

It also led to Malaysia's worst religious strife, with houses of worship throughout the country coming under attack.

Muslims are Malaysia's largest religious group, followed by Buddhists. Christians are the third-largest at 2.6 million, according to statistics from the 2010 consensus. 

 

LDP supreme council suspends sec-gen, 23 others

Posted: 07 Sep 2013 05:56 PM PDT

(The Star) - Embattled Liberal Democratic Party president Datuk V.K.Liew moved further to strengthen his position as his supreme council suspended his former secretary general Datuk Teo Chee Kang and 23 others.

Liew said on Sunday Teoh, who is state Special Affairs Minister, and the others were suspended for bringing disrepute, hatred and contempt by their action that disregards the party's constitution.

 

Teoh together with suspended deputy president Senator Datuk Chin Su Phin were mounting a legal and grassroots challenge Liew's move to suspend or sack nearly 27 of the 35 supreme council members that supported a challenge to president's post.

 

Following the suspensions and sackings, Liew has since replaced most of the key positions held by the suspended members using his presidential powers and he reconstituted the supreme council over the last one week.

 

Following the supreme council meeting on Saturday, Liew announced that party vice president Datuk Pang Nyuk Ming, who is a state assistant minister, was appointed acting deputy president of the party.

 

With Teoh taking legal action to nullify Liew's moves via the courts, Liew maintains that his actions were in accordance to the powers of the president under the party's constitution.

 

He said the action to suspend those involved was necessary, as they have caused disaffection and disunity amongst the party members.

 

"They have rebelled against the party and have no respect to the party's Constitution.

 

They were given ample time to resolve the matters or disputes, if any with the president but they refused, failed or neglected to do so,'' he said in announcing the suspensions.

 

On move by Teoh's group to hold a rival supreme council meeting, Liew, who a former deputy minister who lost the Sandakan parliament seat in the last elections, said that they did not recognise it.

 

Give it a rest Ku Li (and you take one too), says Utusan’s Awang Selamat

Posted: 07 Sep 2013 04:58 PM PDT

(TMI) - In a further sign that it remains an open question whether former Umno vice-president Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (pic) will run against the Prime Minister for the party's top post, an Umno-backed Sunday newspaper got stuck into him today.

Ku Li, as Tengku Razaleigh is popularly known, is just too long in the tooth for the job and should retire, suggested the Awang Selamat column in Mingguan Malaysia.

Ku Li is 76 years old. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is 60 years old.

By convention, the Umno president is also the Prime Minister as the party is the backbone of the government.

The column endorsed Najib as the best choice to lead the party and the government because of a better performance in the recent general election compared to 2008.

Awang Selamat is the pseudonym for the collective voice of the paper's editors, although the column is written as if it's the voice of one person.

"I do not deny his leadership qualities and contributions but hope he will make a wise decision.  His age factor must be considered," said Awang Selamat, referring to Ku Li.

The column pointedly added that leaders of Ku Li's era like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Tun Musa Hitam have retired from politics.

The editorial said the political landscape has also changed and Ku Li must realise his influence among the grassroots is not the same as in 1987. That is the year Ku Li challenged then-Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the president's post but lost by a 43-vote majority.

Ku Li later led a splinter party, Semangat 46. In the 1990 general election, he teamed up with PAS and DAP to challenge the Barisan Nasional.

Kelantan, which was in the hands of BN from 1978, fell into the hands of PAS and Semangat 46. BN has not regained the state since.

In the name of Malay unity, Semangat 46 was dissolved in 1996 and its members rejoined Umno.

But since his return to Umno, Ku Li has offered himself again and again for the top post – against Dr Mahathir (2000), Tun Abdullah Badawi (2004) and Najib (2009) but failed each time as he did not secure the minimum nomination required.

READ MORE HERE

 

You are desperate, says Liow to Chua

Posted: 07 Sep 2013 04:10 PM PDT

MCA deputy president paints his boss as man who twists facts in favour of himself

Alyaa Azhar, FMT

MCA deputy president Liow Tiong Lai has dismissed claims that he is impatient to be the new party president, as claimed by MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek, and called the move by the latter a "desperate attempt".

"I am disappointed that Dr Chua stated that I have persistently confronted him to step down. This attempt to colour me as impatient and power hungry is unjustified and desperate," said Liow.

The Bentong MP claimed that this is the second time Chua has publicly referred to private and personal conversations between them.

"The first of such conversations were initiated by him on May 11 2013 before the presidential council meeting where he declared his intention to step down as party president and the need for a smooth transition.

"There were many other subsequent meetings where upon conversations covered numerous issues regarding party interests and I am shocked that he misinterpreted my earnest participation," said Liow.

According to Sin Chew Daily, Chua had accused Liow of being impatient to be the new party president. He claimed that Liow had met him three times after the 13th general election (GE13) asking him to step down.

"At the second and third meetings, Liow asked when am I going to retire and requested me to give him a date so that he can take over as president. According to the party constitution, once the president steps down, the deputy can take over the post without being acting president," said Chua.

Chua then revealed that with this move, Liow can be the president and come the year-end party polls, he will not be challenged.

Liow however maintained that "MCA's interests are above all personal agendas and the leadership should be looking into the transparency and governance issues facing the party today."

READ MORE HERE

 

Michelle Yeoh Launches iM4U Street Watch Campaign To Fight Crimes Against Women

Posted: 07 Sep 2013 12:29 PM PDT

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(Bernama) -- 1Malaysia For Youth (iM4U) mentor Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh today launched the iM4U Street Watch Campaign to fight crime and raise awareness on women's safety especially in the areas where women are particularly vulnerable.

Yeoh said this was her first initiative after being appointed as iM4U mentor.

She said it was aimed at raising awareness among all Malaysians to pledge their support for the "Women's Safety and Respect for Women" campaign.

"I believes it is important to educate the public and instill a sense of pro-activeness among Malaysians to make our country a safer place for all.

"iM4U also developed a series of five pledges and five tips to be shared via special media platforms and promotion with the support of RapidKL on it's various transportation and networks," she told reporters here, today.

At the launch, Yeoh joined some 20 volunteers on the Light Rail Transit (LRT) to distribute safety packs containing a whistle and safety tips card to women passengers.

Meanwhile, Events and Outdoor Activation director Moots Marimuthu said in partnership with RapidKL, they would be conducting various safety awareness programmes including the placement of iM4U volunteers at selected LRT stations to help escort women to their vehicles if needed.

"We want people to be more self aware and alert with their surroundings. They should report any suspicious activities," he said.

Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad's Infrastrucure Services Group Director Masnizam Hisham said the company is committed to the safety and security of they guests and will ensure that they have a pleasant experience when using the LRT.

Make all rural schools English ready by 2014, says Perkasa

Posted: 07 Sep 2013 12:23 PM PDT

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(MMO) - To ensure no Bumiputera student is left behind, Malay rights group Perkasa wants the Education Ministry to equip all rural schools with English-trained teachers and reading materials by next year now that the language is a must-pass subject for national examinations.

Echoing the sentiments of the Malay Consultative Council (MPM), Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said they agreed with the government's decision to make it a compulsory passing subject as English is the world's tongue and the language of knowledge.

"To ensure Bumiputera students in rural areas are not left behind, the Education Ministry must make sure every rural school has sufficient trained teachers in English, English books and reading materials to help the students.

"All needs must be met starting 2014 even though it is compulsory only from year 2016," the former Independent federal lawmaker told The Malay Mail Online.

Yesterday, Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced English as a mandatory passing subject in the national SPM examination for Fifth Formers in an apparent nod to education lobbyists who have been pushing for its return to schools to boost the learning standard.

Muhyiddin, who is also deputy prime minister, had also said the number of lesson hours for English would be increased, to ensure the plan works.

The teaching of science and mathematics in English -- better known by its Malay initials of PPSMI -- had been introduced in national schools as an option around 2003 by then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in an effort to turn the country's economy from manufacturing-based to knowledge-centric.

The education policy was later reversed in 2010.

The Parents Action Group for Education (PAGE), a leading advocate for PPSMI, however felt that making English a mandatory passing subject suddenly would leave rural students out in the cold, and expressed concern the latest policy change would put more emphasis on exam results instead of actual learning.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has also voiced caution in making English a must-pass, saying it should only be carried out when all schools were on an equal footing.

Conversely, MPM - which had been against the revival of PPSMI - welcomed the plan.

The coalition of some 200 Malay organisations, including businesses and education groups, said the policy was in tandem with the government's goal of strengthening students' command of Bahasa Malaysia, the national language.

READ MORE HERE

Pakatan: Dr M’s financial advice too little, too late for BN

Posted: 07 Sep 2013 12:01 PM PDT

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(MMO) - Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's advice for Putrajaya to tighten its belt has come too late, say Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs who predict a dire financial outlook for Malaysia unless the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government quickens its pace in carrying out comprehensive austerity measures.

It was because the former prime minister of 22 years was profligate with public money that the country is faced with government spending that's potentially spiralling out of control, lawmakers from the three-party opposition pact said.

But they added there was no point in sniping at the 88-year-old now when the real issue at hand was for the present Najib administration to check financial wastage and monetary leaks to lower Malaysia's sovereign debt, which now stands at an alarming 53 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP), just slightly below the government's self-imposed debt ceiling of 55 per cent.

"As much as I think much of the spending is inherited from his time, the real issue is the government's spending going out of control," PKR's Rafizi Ramli told The Malay Mail Online.

He said the lack of seriousness shown by Datuk Seri Najib Razak as the sixth prime minister and finance minister in controlling public spending is the real problem.

"They continue to harp over and over again on one or two billion ringgit of subsidies (for fuel), but these are marginal subsidies compared to many other items such as power production.

"I think it's dishonest. Fixing the financial problems in Malaysia need to be taken as a whole package, and it has to start with the personal commitment of the leadership to show they are serious in tackling wastages and leakages," the Pandan MP said.

Dr Mahathir on Friday posted in his blog, chedet.cc, that the government must be more prudent with its spending and whatever financial assistance is doled out, such as the 1Malaysia People's Assistance (BR1M), must be "properly budgeted for".

He said cash aid programmes like BR1M should be done more selectively, and should not become a crutch like the public's dependence on fuel subsidies.

Dr Mahathir, who also held the finance portfolio, added that the impact of the recent 20 sen reduction in RON95 and diesel subsidies would only contribute to between 1 and 5 per cent inflation to the price of goods and services.

Oil-producing Malaysia had last week hiked up the pump prices for the widely-used grade of fuel as part of the government's subsidy rationalisation programme introduced soon after Najib came into office in 2009.

READ MORE HERE 

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