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PAS' Husam Musa breaks ranks, criticises Kelantan govt

Posted: 08 Oct 2013 01:25 AM PDT

(Bernama) - Former senior state executive councillor Datuk Husam Musa broke ranks when he criticised the Kelantan government in the State Assembly Tuesday over a logging approval in the Ulu Sat Permanent Forest Reserve, Machang as well as the water tariff hike in August.

Husam described the decisions as inappropriate and a deviation from the concept of transparency and integrity.

The Salor assemblyman claimed that a 1,400ha concession area in the forest reserve would be awarded to a company soon.

He said when Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat was Mentri Besar, logging applications for any parts of the Ulu Sat Permanent Forest Reserve placed as production forest had to be tendered.

"If I recall correctly, Tok Guru (Nik Aziz) said the Ulu Sat and Cabang Tongkat forests are lungs that produce fresh and clean air for the people of Kelantan. Let it remain that way for our children," he said during a debate on the 2014 Budget.

Husam, who was state economic, finance and welfare committee chairman, said awarding a large tract of land to a company without a tender was very dubious.

"During Tok Guru's administration, such a big area would not have been awarded to an individual after a simple two-page application and promptly considered," he said.

On the water tariff hike, he said it could have been avoided if Syarikat Air Kelantan Sdn Bhd (AKSB) was prudently managed.

He said AKSB also failed to improve water quality and quantity although several water treatment plants had been upgraded.

Husam said although RM21mil was spent to upgrade the Jeli Water Treatment Plant to increase its production capacity to 10 million litres of water per day (MLD), it could only produce 6.6 MLD.

He said the Bukit Remah plant in Tanah Merah, upgraded at the cost RM16.4mil could only produce 36.6 MLD instead of 42 MLD as targeted.

The Pintu Geng plant, upgraded at a cost of RM52mil, could only produce 12.5 MLD, a far cry from its 30 MLD target.

Husam said despite spending RM130mil to repair burst pipes until July, non-revenue water (NRW) rate was still at 52%.

He also expressed his disappointment as the state government had terminated a contract awarded to a South Korean contractor for the construction of a highway initiated by him and approved two years ago.


PanChai at Harrods

Posted: 08 Oct 2013 01:00 AM PDT

I drove down to Birmingham over the weekend to attend a franchise exhibition at the NEC and met up with Eddie Lim, the owner of PanChai (SEE THE WEBSITE HERE).

PanChai, set up at a cost of about RM7 million, is located in Harrods (SEE THE WEBSITE HERE) that sees about 17 million customers a year and sells pan-Malaysian food such as satay, rendang, nasi goreng, nasi lemak, Hainanese chicken rice, char kway teow, etc.

PanChai, which has now been operating for one and a half years, was voted the best concessionaire and beat the Gavin's, Corrigans, Bentleys, and other bigger brand name restaurants and is the first Malaysian chain to be inducted into the British Franchise Association.

PanChai offers three levels of franchises -- fine dining concept, casual concept and quick service restaurant concept. The lowest concept will cost you about RM500,000 with it going up to more than a million for the fine dining concept depending on which city in the UK you plan to operate.

It looks like Malaysians are now emerging as the most aggressive overseas investors in the UK with many Malaysian groups investing billions in that country.


Malaysia compensates politicians for wrongful jailing

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 09:58 PM PDT

(Channel News Asia) - Malaysia, in a rare out-of-court settlement, agreed Tuesday to pay an opposition lawmaker and five others $63,000 after they were detained under a tough security law two years ago.

The six members of the Socialist Party of Malaysia were arrested in 2011 and imprisoned for almost a month under the Emergency Ordinance which allowed detention without trial, before a mass rally for electoral reforms.

Choo Chon Kai, one of those detained, said the government agreed to pay damages totalling 200,000 ringgit ($63,000) in return for the dropping of a civil lawsuit filed last year for wrongful arrest and detention.

Prime Minister Najib Razak's government scrapped the Emergency Ordinance and other tough security laws in December 2011 following criticism that they were abused to silence dissent.

But amid a recent surge in violent crime, the government has approved amendments to a 1959 crime prevention law that will once again allow detention without trial.

Najib has said the amendments will help crack down on crime and will not be used against government critics.

Choo said their case demonstrated the "high risk of (security laws) being abused by the authorities".



Malaysian Bar slams Zahid for bringing nation into disrepute

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 09:31 PM PDT

(TMI) - The recent statements by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi are shameful and have brought the government and the country into disrepute, said the Bar Council.

Its president Christopher Leong (pic) said in a statement today that the Bar was shocked and appalled by the statements made by Ahmad Zahid at a function in Malacca on Saturday.

"The Malaysian Bar deplores and condemns the statements by the home minister because they reveal his disregard for the rule of law, his indifference to human rights, and his lack of respect for debate and argument in Parliament.

"His statements could be interpreted to support extra-judicial killings by the police," Leong said.

He was referring to statements made by Ahmad Zahid to the effect that the police are to shoot first and ask questions later; the recent amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 as his own law; and in the event there is no evidence or there is insufficient evidence, suspects should be put away for two years.



Two leaders resign, shocking Malacca DAP members

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 07:37 PM PDT

(TMI) - Two Malacca DAP representatives have abruptly quit their posts, sending shockwaves among party members in the state.

Goh Leong San (pic) tendered his resignation as opposition leader, while Lim Jak Wong resigned as opposition whip.

The duo's resignations came less than a week after Luyang assemblyman Hiew King Cheu quit the party to become an independent.

Goh's colleagues in the state were reportedly unhappy that he had praised Chief Minister Datuk Idris Haron's leadership.

"Yes, I quit as opposition leader. I sent my letter to the party's headquarters today," he told The Malaysian Insider.

His decision prompted his good friend Lim, who is the Bachang assemblyman, to quit as well in solidarity. He also submitted his letter today.

However, Lim and Goh, who is Duyong assemblyman, said they are still party members and have no plans to leave.

Last Wednesday, Goh was quoted in a daily describing and praising Idris as "approachable" and a "professional manager".

"I was not deliberately praising him but he needs the credit. We, as the opposition, have approached him on many issues and he looked into our predicaments without rejecting us.

"I believe we should give credit where it is due. Idris has been doing his job quietly without gaining much publicity," he said.



New Bumi plan provides stability, Najib tells Apec

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 07:10 PM PDT

(TMI) - The new Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Plan should be viewed as a way to create a stable society, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday.

He was speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) CEO Summit Dialogue, where Najib addressed the issue of Malaysia's affirmative action policies.

"The Bumiputera policy should be seen in the context of having a fair and just society because Bumiputeras comprise 67% of the population and that includes both Muslims and non-Muslim Bumiputeras in Sabah and Sarawak," he said, as quoted by Utusan Malaysia and state news agency Bernama.

"If Bumiputeras were to be left behind or marginalised, it doesn't lead to long-term stability of the country."

Najib, who is also the Umno president, stressed that the new policy was different from previous economic policies to help Bumiputeras.

He said the new policy would be implemented in a friendlier manner.

"If it's implemented in a fairer and market-friendly way, I think it's going to be good for the country," he said, adding that non-Bumiputeras could also benefit from the policy as long as the economic plan was properly carried out.

Several Malay economic groups have expressed concerns over the implementation of the new Bumiputera policy. They claimed that previous similar economic plans had failed to uplift the small and medium enterprises while feeding tenders of projects to conglomerates.


Umno turning into ‘Nazi stormtroopers’ with racial taunts, says Guan Eng

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 07:05 PM PDT

(MM) - Leaders like Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam are giving Umno a bad name with their racial taunts that threaten Malaysia's cultural diversity, the DAP's Lim Guan Eng warned today.

Unless stern action is taken against both men and soon, the Malay party may go down the same path set upon by Nazi stormtroopers who propagated racial purity and supremacy and split Malaysia into two distinct nations based on whether they were Umno members or not, the opposition leader added in a statement today.

"At the rate that Umno leaders are abandoning the ideal of a Malaysian nation and spewing racial hatred, Umno will in future be no different from the Nazi stormtroopers who advocated racial purity and supremacy," the DAP secretary-general said, weighing in on the latest storm enveloping his political rivals.

Lim, who is also Bagan MP, urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to chastise the two.

"Any failure by the Prime Minister to act by repudiating them and punishing their racist taunts and hatred will only divide Malaysia into two nations with double-standards - one nation and standard for Umno the other for non-Umno who neither deserve equal protection before the law nor constitutional rights as citizens of the country," the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmaker said.

Ahmad Zahid, one of three Umno vice-presidents facing fresh elections this month, sparked a public uproar yesterday after he was reported advocating a "shoot first" approach for the police in dealing with suspected gang members in the wake of a violent crime spree that has resulted in Malays making up the majority of the victims.

The home minister, whose portfolio empowers him to oversee police operations, was also reported saying there was nothing wrong with arresting the over 40,000 known gangsters in the country, half of whom are Indians in a speech at a security briefing event with community leaders in Ayer Keroh, Malacca last Saturday.

"What is the situation of robbery victims, murder victims during shootings? Most of them are our Malays. Most of them are our race," he was quoted as saying by news portal Malaysiakini yesterday, based on a 20-minute audio recording of the speech.

"I think the best way is that we no longer compromise with them. There is no need to give them any more warning. If (we) get the evidence, (we) shoot first," he added, referring to suspected criminals.

Ahmad Zahid had come under heavy fire recently over his steadfast push to restore preventive detention powers to the authorities, which had been removed two years ago when the government abolished two controversial security laws—the Internal Security Act and the Emergency Ordinance—criticised for its abuse to curtail political dissent.

"All Malaysians regardless of race and religion are victims of crime. By declaring that only Malays are victims, are the non-Malay victims of crime invisible or should just disappear without the required protection from crimes against them?

"I still find it hard to believe that a Home Minister entrusted to uphold law and order can so flippantly make such seditious remarks promoting lawlessness and public disorder," Lim said.

Ahmad Zahid's Umno colleague, Mohd Ali was formerly the Malacca chief minister who had his turn in the spotlight for blaming Chinese voters for his surprise defeat in the predominantly Malay Bukit Katil parliamentary seat by a large margin in the 13th General Elections.

Lim chided Mohd Ali for continuing to flash the racial card, claiming the real reason for the Malaccan leader's loss was due to corruption and abuse of power while in office.

Mohd Ali, who was found guilty of money politics and disqualified in the 2009 Umno elections, has also thrown his hat in the ring for the vice-presidency. 


Retribution not the BN way, MCA man tells Mukhriz

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 07:00 PM PDT

(MM) - Discriminatory policies to punish those who voted for the opposition is against the so-called Barisan Nasional (BN) spirit, MCA's Loh Seng Kok said today in response to Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir's proposal that the government focus only on aiding its supporters.

"It is regrettable that Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir had remarked that the priority of the state government is to assist the community which supported the BN government.

"Not only is uttering such a remark obsolete as it will be construed as treatment according to racial, the remark runs contrary to the BN spirit," the MCA publicity chief said in a statement.

On September 24, Mukhriz was reported to have said the state government would not meet any requests from Chinese schools in Kedah as it would focus only on those who supported the BN government.

He later denied making the statement and said the new policy was not retaliation, but to prioritise "gratitude" to the community that voted BN.

"Mukriz as the Menteri Besar should safeguard the interest of all Kedahans regardless of race, steering everyone towards progress and success," Loh said.

Umno, which is BN's mainstay Malay party, appeared to blame the Chinese community for the coalition's performance in the May 5 general election although studies showed the vote swing cut across  racial lines.

Loh said Umno leaders including Mukhriz should move beyond the blame game and focus on serving voters regardless of race as BN had been mandated to govern a multiracial country.

"In a democracy, the services of any Menteri Besar should be people-oriented. Do not dwell on GE results. Repair and reduce any racial rifts. These are positive aspects of a magnanimous national leader which will regain the rakyat's support," he said. 


Zahid, the hero for Umno

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 06:34 PM PDT

By bringing back detention without trial and criticising a news portal, Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi endears himself to the Umno hawks to retain his post.

G Vinod, FMT

It seems like Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is on the media spotlight these days for both the good and bad reasons.

From backing the police force on the missing police firearms and vehicles to the amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act (PCA), Zahid shows that he means business.

By bulldozing the PCA amendments, which includes detention without trial, and defending Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar by saying that the weapons may have "fallen into the sea", Zahid had discarded right-thinking Malaysians and human rights NGOs from being his supporters.

He may have also antagonised Malaysians at large but the minister is now focused on retaining his Umno vice-president post.

There are six contenders for the three Umno vice-presidency. So every competitor has to prove his mettle among party delegates on why his is worthy of the position.

And going by Umno's history, the delegates usually rally behind a rough and tough leader.

As for Zahid, he may have cemented the support of Umno delegates by reintroducing detention without trial in the amendments to the PCA.

When Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak decided to repeal the Internal Security Act, not many in the Umno circles were pleased with it, including former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The right wing faction still relishes in the good old days of Mahathir when there was weak opposition to deal with and they had an easy time silencing dissent using arbitrary laws.

But they allowed Najib to go ahead with it, having hopes that it will help Barisan Nasional (BN) regain its two-thirds majority in Parliament. But it did not. Pakatan Rakyat still managed to deny BN the two-thirds majority.



Selangor’s education fund owed RM8.23mil

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 06:23 PM PDT

The outstanding debt involves borrowers from as far back as 1987, says the Auditor-General's (AG) report.

Alyaa Azhar, FMT

Selangor's state education fund is wrought with outstanding loan repayments amounting to RM8.23 million, according to the 2012 Auditor-General's (AG) report.

The report states that the outstanding amount involves borrowers from as far back as 1987 and one who started accumulating outstanding fees since 1990.

RM3.48 million of the total debt has been outstanding for more than six years. There was also an increase of outstanding loan repayments of 3.3% from 2012 to June 2013.

The report cautioned that failure to collect the outstanding payments will increase the debt amount and affect the fund cash flow in the long term.

The Selangor state government established the Selangor state scholarship fund through the Selangor state scholarship fund 1949 Enactment (Amendment 2001).

In the early stage of establishment, the fund was aimed to provide scholarships for Selangor citizens intending to pursue studies at higher institutions either locally or abroad.

However, with effect from 1987, the scholarships were converted to interest-free loans with the exception of students of Alam Shah secondary school, Putrajaya and medical undergraduates.

The interest-free loan can be converted to a sponsorship in the form of reduced loan repayments based on examination results of the borrower or commonly known as convertible education loan.

The AG report also pointed out that the programme was less than satisfactory because the marking scheme was not updated and the score formula was incorrect.



‘Umno owes Tekun RM1b’

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 06:21 PM PDT

This is following the Tekun CEO's admission that the financing scheme was set up for Umno and gives priority to Umno applicants.

Anisah Shukry, FMT

Umno owes almost RM1 billion in unpaid loans to Tabung Ekonomi Kumpulan Usaha Niaga (Tekun), after its CEO revealed that the national financing scheme was formed for members of the Malay ruling party, PKR claimed today.

"Tekun has loaned out RM2.42 billion to 273,173 businessmen. RM1.6 billion of the funds came from the federal government. Since [Tekun]'s formation in 1998 up until today, only RM1.43 billion was paid back," PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said in a statement today.

"Considering the statement by Tekun CEO (Abdul Rahim Hassan), this is a serious implication as 40.9% or almost RM1 billion, that was loaned out to Umno members in general have not been paid back.

"This means, on average, more than RM650 million of the rakyat's money loaned out to Umno members through a fund set up by the federal government has not been repaid," said Fahmi.

Yesterday, Abdul Rahim said that Tekun, a government financing scheme that provides loans for bumiputera entrepreneurs, had been set up to help Umno members.

However, he denied claims that financing scheme rejected all loan applications from non-Umno members.

"We have a right to defend [Tekun] because it was the party's brainchild. But this does not mean we completely ignore other applications.

"As long as the applications are bumiputeras, we accept it, but priority of course goes to Umno members," Abdul Rahim admitted at a press conference yesterday.

Fahmi said today that since priority was given to Umno, then "logically" Umno members should also be given priority to repay the RM1billion in unpaid loans to Tekun.

"Hence, I suggest that Tekun and its CEO open a counter during the Umno elections this coming Oct 19," said Fahmi.



In Talent Battle, Malaysia Loses to Singapore

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 12:26 PM PDT 

(WSJ) - Malaysia has talent, but it's losing the battle to build it as the country's best and brightest – frustrated by a lack of opportunities – increasingly pack their bags and cross the border to neighboring Singapore.

A new index that measures a country's ability to develop its workforce recently ranked Singapore No. 3 out of 122 countries globally. Switzerland topped the list followed by Finland.

Malaysia didn't do too badly, coming in 22nd and placing second in Southeast Asia, above Thailand at 44, Indonesia at 53 and the Philippines at 66.

But the index highlighted how a series of affirmative action policies and an over-reliance on cheap, imported labor have kept Malaysia from building a skilled work force capable of competing with smaller but richer Singapore.

Published by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, the Human Capital Index assessed things like health care quality, infrastructure and education, to determine how capable countries are of developing a healthy pool of workers.

Malaysia has a young, moderately well-educated workforce, and unemployment has averaged less than 3.5 percent over the past 15 years. But it has also long relied on unskilled immigrants – mainly from Indonesia – to keep production costs low and attract the foreign capital that has helped it develop into one of Southeast Asia's most industrialized economies.

The influx of foreign workers has left company owners with little incentive to raise wages or modernize their operations to boost productivity, say analysts.

The country's top universities have also slipped in global rankings. None of them made it on to the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings, an index of the top 400 universities globally.

Increasingly those in search of better education seek opportunities elsewhere. Twenty percent of Malaysia's most highly educated now opt to leave for richer economies, according to a recent report by recruitment consulting firm Kelly Services. Most, according to government figures, have settled in Singapore.

The exodus of local talent means the country faces a shortage of skilled professionals, including bankers, researchers and engineers.

Read more at: 

Why Umno leaders are singing such a vile tune these days

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 12:03 PM PDT 

(TMI) - A recent poll of 600 Umno party members and their supporters by the respected Merdeka Center has revealed a disturbing picture of a party contented with itself and angry with just about everyone else.

If Malaysians are offended by the vile garbage being spewed by the likes of Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and other Umno politicians auditioning for the Umno party polls on October 19, there is more distressing news.

A recent poll of 600 Umno party members and their supporters by the respected Merdeka Center has revealed a disturbing picture of a party contented with itself and angry with just about everyone else.

A clutch of questions was asked to gauge the current perception about the ruling party by its own cadres.

In response, just under three-quarters of them said Umno should not give in too much to demands by non-Malays.

Nine out of 10 believed Umno should focus its energy on building up more support among Malays for the next general election.

And here is a real shocker. After all that has been written about the decrepit state of the party, the paucity of leaders with integrity and the hubris which resides in every pore of the party, only 17% of party members and supporters felt that the public was disgusted with Umno because its leaders had strayed from the original goals.

They basically think Umno is in good shape and only needs some tweaking here and there. And that tweaking is focused on generating more support from the Malays.

Two-thirds, or 67%, did not think that Umno is focusing too much on the Malay agenda. Only 16% felt that winning over non-Malays is Umno's biggest challenge, believing that the priority should be getting older leaders to make way for younger ones and increasing support of Malays for the party.

In GE13, Umno/Barisan Nasional snagged 61.6% of the Malays, thanks primarily to the strategem of creating fear among Malays with the bogey that non-Malays are aiming to wrest political control of the country.

Since the general election, Umno politicians have unleashed two streams of rhetoric: that Malay voters should be rewarded for returning BN to power and that opposition supporters must be punished.

Every candidate for the Umno elections has tried to play the race card, knowing well that there is a ready and receptive audience among party delegates for the blame rhetoric.

It is much easier for the party – from the top to rank-and-file – to blame ungrateful Chinese or belligerent Christians for their dismal electoral performance than to focus on the real reasons for losing more parliamentary seats and the popular vote, compared to 2008.

Read more at: 

Kadazan Society summons Mufti

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 11:54 AM PDT 

(Daily Express) - The Kadazan Society Sabah (KSS) is seeking a sogit (customary penalty) from State Mufti Bungsu @ Aziz Jafaar for insulting and humiliating the Kadazan community by claiming the Kadazans are an "invented race."

Led by its Deputy President Sylvester Disimon, the KSS filed the saman malu (customary summons for insulting) at Penampang District Chief OKK Christopher Mojungkim's office, here, Monday.

Disimon said Bungsu's remark has caused anger among the Kadazan community.

"Their (Kadazan) feelings and dignity will be hurt beyond repair if the matter is not settled through the native court," he said.

In this respect, he said the Mufti must make an appeasement to the Kadazan community in accordance with native customary law.

He said the term 'Kadazan' has existed since time immemorial and it was never invented and is not of recent origin as claimed by Bungsu.

There is evidence, he said, to show that the term has been used long before the 1950s.

Owen Rutter in his book, "'The Pagans Of North Borneo", which was published in 1929, wrote "The Dusun usually describes himself generically as a 'tulun tindal' (landsman) or, on the west coast, particularly at Papar, as a Kadazan."

Rutter worked in Sabah or North Borneo for five years as District Officer in all five residencies and left North Borneo with the onset of the First World War.

This means that he started working in North Borneo from 1910 and left in 1914, said Disimon.

"So, if this misconception is left unchecked and not rectified, other communities might think that Bungsu's statement is correct.

"It might eventually become the truth, if left uncorrected, and thus our future generations might be forever misled by what the Mufti has said about the Kadazan community," he said.

To this, he said the KSS is taking the lead to summon the Mufti and that every Kadazan has the right to do likewise.

Disimon also said the KSS is taking such action as it is enshrined in its constitution to defend the rights and dignity of the Kadazans.

Moreover, he said, Bungsu must pay for his misdemeanour in calling the Kadazans an "invented race" through the process of Native Customary Law.

Bungsu had, on Sept 28, said the Kadazan was an invented ethnic group made of non-Muslim Dusun people, who are mostly Catholics.

He, however, has yet to make an apology or reply to the anger levelled against him from the various parties such as Upko, PBS, PBRS, NGOs as well as individuals.

Bungsu, who is of Brunei-Suluk ancestry, has not answered calls for him to explain his sensitive remarks against the Kadazan.

Meanwhile, Mojungkim said Bungsu is obliged to appear at the Penampang Native Court within 21 days.

"If he fails to appear in the native court, we will work with the police to issue a warrant (of arrest) for him," he said.

Also present was KSS Vice-President, Freddy Ekol. 


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