Khamis, 28 November 2013

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Start of PAS-Umno muzakarah?

Posted: 27 Nov 2013 08:22 PM PST 

K Pragalath, FMT 

PAS-led Kelantan Menteri Besar Ahmad Yakob met Umno president Najib Tun Razak at the Prime Minister's office in Putrajaya this morning and this could mark start of the long-awaited Umno-PAS dialogue.

A Bernama report confirmed that the two held a 45-minute discussion at Perdana Putra and talks were centred on the assistance of the federal government to the state.

Although it is common for a state MB to meet the PM, the timing of this meeting coming right at the heel of the willingness expressed by both Umno and PAS to meet and discuss do suggest a different agenda.

Also present at the meeting, which began at 9am, was Kelantan Umno liaison chief and International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapha Mohamad, chief secretary to the government Ali Hamsa, Kelantan state exco for infrastructure, utility and information technology Hanifa Ahmad, Kelantan state secretary Zainuddin Ibrahim.

Najib announced on Monday that Umno was willing to sit down with Islamic party PAS on the issue of implementing an administration that is based on Islam in the country.

"We are willing to hold discussions with PAS but we need to know what is the scope of discussions," Najib had said, adding that Umno needed to know what PAS was seeking.

Najib also disclosed, three days ago, that he had received a letter from Ahmad Yaakob requesting a meeting.

"I will be meeting Ahmad soon because he requested it," Najib had said earlier this week, declining to elaborate further.

On Sunday, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, closing the 59th PAS muktamar said if Umno was committed to implementing an administration that was based on Islam, then both parties should discuss about it.

Abdul Hadi said the party was ready to muzakarah as it could result in better unity among Muslims in the country.

He had said that issues, such as the use of the word "Allah" and other problems, which were splitting the Muslim faithful, could be resolved if Umno and PAS talked to each other.


Pakatan: Loga Bala misled Parliament on KL assessment hike

Posted: 27 Nov 2013 08:18 PM PST

Pathma Subramaniam,

The Opposition wants Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk J Loga Bala Mohan to be referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee for "misleading" Parliament on the enforcement date for the Kuala Lumpur assessment rates hike.

Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut) said Loga Bala had stating facts that contradicted Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor's statement this morning that that the hike will come into effect on Jan 1.

Loga Bala had told the Dewan Rakyat yesterdat that the hike in the assessment rates will be postponed indefinitely, pending public hearings which has been extended from January to March next year.

But according to Tengku Adnan, what was extended to March was the period needed by a special panel formed to gather public feedback on the hike to implement the revised rates.

Raising the contradiction in the House today, Lim said differing statements had led to unnecessary confusion.

Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia told Lim that he will evaluate the complaint and decide on Monday on whether Loga Bala should face the powerful committee of the House.

At a press conference later, Lim ticked off both Tengku Adnan and Loga Bala for interfering in the decision on raising assessment rates.

Lim pointed out that the revision of the assessment tax is solely under the discretion of the capital's mayor Datuk Phesal Talib.

Tan Kok Wai (DAP-Cheras), who was also present, slammed Loga Bala for the mix up as the deputy minister repeated the claim of indefinite deferment when Lim sought a clarification yesterday.

"According to the local government's bylaws there will be a late payment penalty if the property owners do not pay their assessment tax by Feb 28 but this minister (Tenku Adnan) is telling everyone to go pay after the expiry date until the public hearing ends in march.

"Doesn't this sound ridiculous?" asked Tan.

Lim reiterated that the Federal Territories Ministry should stay out of the controversy, saying: "I want the minister and deputy minister to just shut up and let the mayor decide and make the announcement."


I will not aplogise for “kucing kurap” remark, says a defiant Jeff Ooi

Posted: 27 Nov 2013 07:25 PM PST

(TMI) - A defiant Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi (pic), who has lately become a controversial figure in Penang for his "kucing kurap" remark, is not losing sleep over the issue even as various quarters have criticised him, including his own state party chairman Chow Kon Yeow.

The two-term DAP parliamentarian, who had said before that he will not retract or apologise for the remark, is now more determined to "unearth more weaknesses of the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP)."

He said he is on a mission to look into various decisions made by the MPPP that had allegedly "shortchanged" the state government.

"After I have submitted my reports to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, the state executive council and the state secretariat, I will share my findings with the media," he told The Malaysian Insider today.

Ooi was asked to comment on various quarters demanding for his apology, including the Amalgamated National Union of Local Authority Employees (Anulae).

Anulae chairman Saleem Sulaiman, who slammed Ooi yesterday, labeled the blogger turned politician "anjing kurap" (mangy dog) and "pandi kuti" (piglet in Tamil) of Jelutong.

Ooi said the whole issue had been taken over by events with some stooping low to use terms like "pandi kuti" which carried a racial tone.

"When I made the remark ('kucing kurap' meaning small fry) I aimed it at the machinery, the MPPP. It was not directed at any individual.

"All that has happened indicates that little Napoleons are alive and kicking even after the government has changed," he said.

Ooi said it was a matter that needed to be managed strategically to improve the situation.

"The council president to the lower ranking officials have endured the Barisan Nasional culture for too long. That has to change with the council performing better with more competency and transparency.

"The MPPP is the third level of government and it does not have to go back to the masses for renewal," he said.

Ooi reminded civil servants, who plan to participate in a protest against him should he refuses to apologise for his remark, not to do so during office hours.

"They are free to do it, but not at the expense of ratepayers. Disciplinary action may be taken against them," he warned.

On how he was faring with criticism coming his way lately, Ooi said he was not losing any sleep, but his lawyers were going over television and news reports for any statements that are defamatory.

On his own party distancing itself from him following this controversy, he said he is not taking it personally.

"It does not matter. I separate matters of governance from party affairs.

"There is no hard feelings. I am also performing my duties," he added.

Ooi reportedly made the infamous "kucing kurap" remark when he and several MPPP officers met on Novermber 16 over the illegal hawker issue at the Jelutong market.



MB to Azmin: Take it or leave it!

Posted: 27 Nov 2013 07:16 PM PST

Khalid said Azmin could donate the additional amount of his salary to charity if he was not happy.

(The Posto) - Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has defended the considerable pay increase for state assemblypersons and brushed off Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyperson Azmin Ali's suggestion to delay it.

Speaking to reporters in Shah Alam today, Khalid said the state legislative assembly has approved the salary hike and the decision is final.

Khalid said Azmin could donate the additional amount of his salary to charity if he was not happy.

"He may not want to receive the salary. That's the right of the individual. If (he) doesn't want to take it, (he) can leave it," Khalid said.

He also disagreed with parliamentary Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's statement that the increase was "quite high".

"It's not quite high. We do not raise the salary unneccesarily. In fact, the salary in Malaysia is quite low," Khalid said, adding that it was low compared with what Sarawak pays its lawmakers.

Azmin, who is also Gombak MP, told reporters at the Parliament lobby today that the pay increase should be shelved because there was no prior consultation.

He said that the amount was "too high" and thus a review would be a "smart" move.

Azmin said that the Selangor Pakatan backbenchers, of whom he is the chairperson, were not consulted on the matter.

"This is about the taxpayers' money, and the concept of Pakatan Rakyat to always have dialogues. We should have more discussions on this matter," Azmin said.

He also said that Khalid had only said on Nov 19 that pay hikes would be reviewed, but felt it was "too soon" for such a review be done and then be tabled in the state assembly sitting.

He however admitted that he had met Khalid personally to express his opinions.
"I did not have the opportunity so far," he said.

Azmin however denied that his statement was a form of attack on Khalid's administration, just a month after the backbenchers led by him sent a memorandum to the latter over state budget allocations.

"We are not attacking Khalid," he said, while denying that the backbenchers had lobbied Khalid to raise the pay of assemblypersons.

"We never made such a demand before. Our memorandum has nothing about personal interests," Azmin claimed.

Salary hike to stop lawmakers going for extra income

The salary hike for elected representatives of Selangor is meant to stop the lawmakers making extra income, Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said today

"This income (hike) is suitable for the people's representatives and state executive councillors as they will no longer need to find extra income from outside. This has happened (before)," Khalid told the media at the state assembly complex today.

He said some of the federal ministers too could be looking for extra incomes to sustain their political work.

"Though they get the salary of a minister (besides the MP's or senator's allowance), they sometimes may need to get extra income (duit dari luar), to pay for their work," he said.

"So, this has been difficult for us as well."

Khalid defended the remuneration increment as "not high" and "reasonable", if compared with wages in the private sector.

He said the state government has taken into consideration objections from the rakyat on this matter.

It therefore chose the salary of the Sarawak assemblyperson as a basis and worked out a 30 percent lesser rate on the new salary for the Selangor assemblypersons.

Though both states have financial reserves, Khalid said, Selangor was bigger than Sarawak in terms of economic performance.

Khalid added that the media has been treating Selangor unfairly over the matter and blowing the issue out of proportion, despite the fact that everything was above board and done in a transparent manner.

He said that in contrast, the media had remained relatively silent about the dramatic pay increase of Sarawak's state legislative assembly members.



Sabah PKR far from finished, says Lajim; to reorganise

Posted: 27 Nov 2013 11:22 AM PST

(Borneo Insider) - Sabah PKR chairman Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin claimed that only eight PKR leaders had quit the party.

Three of them were divisional leaders, from Kinabatangan, Kota Marudu and Silam, while the rest comprised acting heads, vice-heads and ordinary members, he said.

It was uncertain whether there had been resignations from the Beluran division, he told a news conference at the PKR Building, here.

Lajim (photo) also said that PKR had yet to receive the resignation letters of the leaders who claimed to have quit the party and expressed their support for the BN.

He said Sabah PKR would recommend to PKR President Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to sack these leaders.

Lajim was also incensed with his party renegades who used the opportunity to attend the party's national congress over the weekend to defect to Barisan Nasional.

"They used air tickets bought by us to go Kuala Lumpur, stayed in hotels paid by us and collected RM15 meal money and then defected to Barisan.

"What kind of leaders are these. Anyway, we are thankful to Barisan for accepting them,'' said.

Lajim said that Sabah PKR was not "finished'' as claimed by Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and dismissed that there was a second wave of defections on the pipeline.

"We are still intact, we will replace those who left and division elections is scheduled for March next year,'' Lajim told reporters after chairing the Sabah PKR liaison committee meeting here.

Lajim also said that the remaining four state PKR assemblymen and one MP from Sabah were still intact.

PKR has confirmed that several of its Sabah members have resigned to join the Umno-BN coalition.

"We regret that they have chosen to take this step but the core of our activities in Sabah remain unaffected by their departure," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

"All of those who left are not holding significant posts nor are they elected representatives. We cannot stop them as they have the right to freedom of association but they only harm their own reputation by joining such an unprincipled coalition as Umno-BN."

Tian was responding to a news report that 11 mid-level Sabah PKR members had quit, expressing support for the Umno-BN.

The news was announced by Prime Minister Najib Razak himself at a press conference in the peninsula.



M'sia 'boleh' but cannot win an Asian sports award?

Posted: 27 Nov 2013 10:42 AM PST 

( - The sad truth is nobody will answer this question as it appears that the Malaysian football fraternity does not care anymore.

IT WAS almost like at the Grammys for me, tucked into a suit at the 2013 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Annual Awards at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. 

Having been in the sports-journalism industry for seven years, this was a milestone in this writer's career as it was my first time and I was even 10 minutes early for the grand event.
Ushered into the Grand Ballroom upon my arrival, this writer took a seat at the media and took in the scene. While some nominees were spotted anxious, others carried confidence.
As the event kicked off, our hosts of the evening Paul Masefield and Colette Wong began announcing the nominees for the respective categories.
This was when my spirit dropped. There didn't seem to be any Malaysian names announced in the football players, coaches or assistant referees save for Rita Ghani who was nominated for AFC Referee of the Year in the Women's category.
Unfortunately, Japan's Asako Takemoto bagged the award.
While the country should be proud that Rita was recognised for her efforts in the sports industry, a pertinent question arises: What has happened to the others?
Malaysia was once Asia's power house but it's a sorry state when we are no more recognised in our own continent. That is something to be ashamed of.
Our neighbours Thailand won two awards – the AFC Futsal Team of the Year and the AFC Futsal Player of the Year.
And to make things worse, even uprising country Myanmar won the AFC Dream Asia Award for their FA's contribution in social responsibility.
How can this happen?
Have we deteriorated so badly in football, that it impossible to come back to where we were some 30-years ago?
Who can answer this question?
The sad truth is nobody will answer this question as it appears that the Malaysian football fraternity does not care anymore.
All they want to do is to earn big bucks from the sport and get out. No one cares about grassroots and the development of football in this country.
I love football and more importantly, I love my country. It is very sad to be a host of a prestigious event and not have more than one representative nominated for any categories.
This can only happen in Malaysia and I welcome you to the "Boleh-Land".


Latest defections meant to neutralise PKR’s positive move for East Malaysia

Posted: 27 Nov 2013 10:41 AM PST 

(The Ant Daily) - The defection of 11 Sabah PKR leaders to the Barisan Nasional (BN) is aimed at diluting positive vibes emanating from the PKR Special Congress held last weekend.

Political analyst Professor Jayum Jawan said the 11 leaders are "small fries" in the larger scale of things, and the timing of their announcement showed that it was done in response to amendments made to the PKR party constitution.

"The division leaders are not important . What concerns me the most are the elected representatives who had jumped ship (to join BN) as this raises the issue of their integrity," Jayum told the antdaily in referring to Matunggong assemblyman Datuk Jelani Hamdan and Kadamaian assemblyman Jeremy Malajad.

The duo, along with the 11 state leaders, had on Nov 26 held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman at the Umno headquarters here to announce their decision.

"With this (resignations), PKR is almost paralysed while Barisan will become even stronger in Sabah, allowing us to better serve the people of the state," Najib reportedly said.

PKR through the amendments has included a clause stating that it will uphold the spirit of cooperation and power sharing between Sabah, Sarawak and the Peninsula according to the 1963 Malaysia Agreement -- a promise which was recorded in Pakatan Rakyat's "Kuching Declaration" signed on Sept 16, 2012.

The party also agreed that at least one of the four appointed vice-president seats must be allocated to a Sabah or Sarawak leader -- ensuring a better representation to champion their issues.

Jayum, however, said that PKR is also "playing politics" in making the promises as they are not in a position to offer Sabah and Sarawak greater autonomy.

"What do they (PKR) mean by autonomy? There is no autonomy to offer because the matter is already spelled out in the Malaysia Agreement 1963," he stressed, citing as example enforcement of its own immigration laws.

Read more at: 

Johor sultan has power to change rest day

Posted: 27 Nov 2013 08:53 AM PST

(National Express) - As the head of Islam in the state, the Johor sultan has powers to unilaterally revert the rest day from Sunday to Friday, constitutional law expert Abdul Aziz Bari said.

"The sultan, in my view, can do that as Friday is a holy day for Muslims and (he) has some practical reasons; so that Muslims can spend more time in the mosque as in pre-1993 (days)," he said in an email to Malaysiakini.

"The issue here is about whose power and through what procedure. The power is with the state and the sultan appears to have exercised it for religious reasons."

He said state holidays fall under state jurisdiction, according to Schedule Nine of the federal constitution.

"It is not stated (in the constitution) whether it should go through the Dewan," he said referring to the state assembly.

The constitutional law professor said the sultan can act unilaterally as long as it is in matters which do not contravene the federal constitution.

NONEFurthermore, he said, Johor Menteri Besar Khaled Nordin has already indicated that the ruling will not be forced upon non-Muslims and the business sector.

Abdul Aziz (left), who returned to academia last month, two years after being sacked from by Universiti Islam Antarabangsa for critical remarkes against the Selangor sultan, said that changing the rest day from Friday to Sunday in 1993 had been more problematic.

"The (state) government may declare a holiday for a day or two but when it comes to changing something that has been going on for centuries, it is something else; it should have been more careful and elaborate.

"Now it has caused difficulty as the society has been so used to it, hence the uneasiness over the sultan's announcement."

'Disrupting centuries-old practice'

Johor, then led by Muhyiddin Yassin, and Perlis, then headed by Shahidan Kassim, had changed their rest days from Friday to Sunday, disrupting a centuries-old practice in the two states.

Friday was the rest day for the unfederated Malay states - Johor, Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis - where British colonial influence had been relatively weaker.

Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu still maintain this practice.

azlanIn modern history, Abdul Aziz said, Johor's rest-day change is likely linked to former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad's campaign to "clip the rulers' wings".

"Some of the rulers have forgotten what the former PM did to them in 1983 and 1993.

"Note that Umno Baru was launched in Istana Besar Johor Bahru in 1988, four years after Mahathir amended the constitution which took away the power to assent to bills and also power to declare emergency."

Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar in his birthday speech decreed that the rest day will revert to Friday with effect from next year.

The private sector will mostly maintain the Monday to Friday work week to facilitate external trade, as long as banks do the same.

Banks, however, are undecided as to whether they will maintain Monday to Friday operating hours, pending official confirmation from the state government that the Friday rest day is optional.


Ahead of MCA leadership battle, fresh claims of money politics

Posted: 27 Nov 2013 08:50 AM PST

(MM) - The MCA leadership battle is getting intense, with fresh allegations of money-politics and vote-buying.

Claims have emerged that some 120 party division chairmen have been receiving "allowances" to ensure the division delegates' allegiance.

Ghost writers have also been paid to promote certain individuals.

Three candidates have confirmed their candidacies for the president's post. They are Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and Gan Peng Sieu.

Outgoing president Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek is keeping his plans close to heart. Observers say he might enter the fray at the 11th hour to hamper Liow's chances.

Liow is said to have the backing of some 1,000 of the 2,385 delegates and is working hard to influence at least 600 to 700 more to ensure he gets the post.

Observers say former president Ong may not be able to fare well, as he is only able to woo some 200 delegates through sympathy, while Gan is said to have some 900 delegates backing him.

Gan rubbished allegations of being Dr Chua's proxy but may contest for the deputy president's post against Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong if Dr Chua decides to join at the last minute.

If that happens, Ong's chances will being squashed, leaving Dr Chua and Liow to slug it out.

If Dr Chua wins, he may step down mid-term and hand over the presidency to Gan but only if the latter wins the No. 2 post.

"It's a game of power and keeping control of the party. The most important thing is whether MCA can rally the Chinese community to support Barisan Nasional (BN)," said an observer.

"Right now, Malaysians know MCA does not have the support of the community and as long as MCA keeps busy fighting for power and leadership control, the party can never influence the community to support BN.

"The party leaders need to get real. Feel the pulse of the community and seek their wishes and needs. Then try and fulfill them.

"If the party leaders fail to do so, they may end up like Gerakan in the next general election." 


Declassify sale of Sabah’s Desa Cattle

Posted: 27 Nov 2013 08:21 AM PST

Former Sabah CM Salleh Said Keruak and ex-state minister Lajim Ukin were in the centre of another swept-under-the-carpet blunder involving the cattle farms in Sabah and Australia.

Selvaraja Somiah, FMT

The latest update on the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) debacle is an ugly reminder of Sabah's own blunders and the absolute need to be free from the present breed of politicians who run politics as business.

Sabah has had its own controversial acquisitions.

Desa Cattle, a brainchild of former Chief Minister Harris Salleh was a brilliant idea to see Sabah become self-sufficient in dairy and meat. But within 15 years of its inception, politicians having their own agenda destroyed it.

In the centre of this blunder is Salleh Said Keruak and Lajim Ukin.

At the time of the 'sale', Salleh was then Sabah CM and Lajim the State Agriculture Minister.

The project was a cattle farm and dairy industry. It was in the 1990s and Sabah was become the flagship in cattle and diary industry.

The Sabah government ran a cattle farm in Darwin Australia and the state had actually reached 100% self-sufficiency in the production of such meats in 1998.

At that time, the commercial cattle farm was owned by Desa Cattle Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Village Development Corporation (KPD) that was operating in Mesilau, Sook in Sabah and in Darwin, Australia.

Then Salleh and Lajim Ukin decided to sell the farm in Darwin Australia.

They also sold the remaining thousands of acres of Desa Cattle land in Sabah to Kim Loong a West Malaysia group.

Salleh Said Keruak

Controversial deal

Lajim has of course denied any direct involvement. His contention is that the sale went through the state Cabinet and that he should not be the one to answer for it.

Anyway as a result of this sale, Desa Cattle's land bank in Keningau and Kundasang shrunk to a measly thousand acres.

Kim Loong the West Malaysian group, made huge profits from the land over the years by converting it to oil palm cultivation.

Because of this silly decision, Sabah is now no longer self-sufficient in beef, mutton and buffalo meat production. These days the state imports frozen beef from Australia and New Zealand, and buffalo meat from India.

This controversial deal between KPD Holdings, the state government and the Desa Cattle management group calls for declassifying the documents on these deals that lead to massive losses.

Losses, which incidentally is far greater than the ongoing case of National Feedlot Corporation (NFC), another "lembu" business.

Auditor-General's report for 2011 reported a gross mismanagement of the NFC project worth RM250 million which involved the family of former Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.




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