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Maria Chin officially named Bersih chairperson, Ahmad Farouk is deputy

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 03:52 PM PST

Jacqueline Png,

Maria Chin Abdullah today officially took over as the chairperson of the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections' (Bersih), with Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa as the vice-chairperson.


Chin was already confirmed as the new chairperson after she emerged as the only nominee for the position when nominations closed on Nov 8.

Ahamd Farouk polled  37 votes in the contest for  the vice-chairperson post, beating his contender Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh by seven votes.

Ahmad Farouk, a trained cardiothoracic surgeon, lectures at Monash University Malaysia. He led the medical team during the Bersih 2 and 3 rallies.

Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) executive officer Masjaliza Hamzah polled 51 votes to take over as treasurer, beating Nahar Md Nor.

Two new steering committee members with portfolio elected are Farhana Halim and New Sin Yew. The unsuccessful candidates are K Arumugam, Ng Chak Ngoon and Hishamuddin Rais.

Bersih has 89 endorsing NGOs, and representatives from 67 member organisations took part in the coalition's first internal election. They included three postal votes from East Malaysia and one vote that was cast via email.

Bersih will continue to conduct regional election to form its full committee by the end of January.

Chin took over the helm of the election watchdog  from current co-chairpersons Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and Datuk A. Samad Said.

"The most immediate tasks we need to begin with are to stop the redelineation exercise, clean up the electoral roll and build up a stronger Bersih force through our regional branches." Chin said

Chin also launched a petition to the Yang di-Pertaun Agong calling for the resignation of all seven commissioners of the Election Commission.

"The EC has failed the nation in conducting free and fair elections, thus they should resign.

"We also want to halt redelineation exercise to until a new EC board is formed and the electoral rolls are reexamined."

Chin said the new election commissioners should consist of retired judges, senior lawyers and other members of the civil society.

"We urge NGOs to sign the petition and we aim to give it to the King in January," she told reporters after the election results were announced.

 Chin said there are no plans for another Bersih rally for now as they will allow time for the King to respond.

"We are also waiting for the report from the Bersih People's Tribunal to show more evidence (of flaws in the election system)," she said.


DAP elections: ‘Base votes on contributions’

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 03:48 PM PST

With DAP state-level elections looming tomorrow calls are being made for delegates to vote wisely based on candidates contributions and not sentiments. 

Hawkeye, FMT

A DAP veteran has called on delegates voting in tomorrow's state-level DAP elections to cast their votes based on what the candidates have contributed to the party over the past three years.

Jalan Tembikai DAP branch head K Gunabalan said: "Delegates must choose wisely and not be swayed by sentiments, nor elements of cronyism."

Gunabalan fears that the over 1,000 delegates, casting their ballots tomorrow, may vote along the lines of factionism or personality, saying the party delegates must not forget the party's original struggles.

Approximately 40 candidates qualify to contest for 15-slots in the state DAP election.

Those who win, will later determine posts to be held by individuals elected.

The present line-up comprises of Padang Kota assemblyman Chow Kon Yeow as the state chairman with veteran Lim Hock Seng as his deputy.

It is expected that several candidates are likely to withdraw from the running when elections begin tomorrow at the George Town City Hotel.

However, the number of contestants still is expected to remain large, in view of DAP's popularity, believed to currently be at an all time high after it performed well in the GE13.

"Now that DAP is a popular party with positions in government, particularly at Penang state level, it is important to support candidates who have served the party. We must distingush the difference between party and government posts," Gunabalan said.

Gunabalan reminded delegates not to emulate Umno, who have blurred the distinction of holding party and government positions.

"Governments come and go but what remains is our party struggle so we must clearly support those who have worked and served DAP in Penang."

"I am worried that the criteria for choosing leaders may be hijacked by the thirst for power or craving for positions within the state government," he added.



GST: Rakyat bails out government

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 09:38 AM PST 

Selena Tay, FMT 

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has recently mentioned that GST (Goods and Services Tax) was a more equitable taxation system and the additional revenue would allow the government to finance future developments.

He also said that the current taxation system was not efficient as only 1.34 million workers out of 14 million workers paid income tax.

This was reported in an English local daily dated Nov 28, 2013.

His statement regarding the number of taxpayers is downright silly. The small number of workers paying income tax is because many workers are not taxable as they are low-wage earners. This shows how much he knows about economics.

He is just simply trying to rally the people to getting round to accepting GST because before this he was saying that Malaysia's economy was robust and resilient. He even pointed to Moody's encouraging upgrade in rating for Malaysia from 'stable' to 'positive'.

As mentioned in a previous article by this columnist, most people preferred the GST to start at 3% or even 4% the most as 4% was the figure touted before the 13th general election. After the polls, 7% was the rate proposed by the government.

Is the final figure of 6% a sort of psychological mind game by the government to show that they are 'caring enough' to reduce the rate by 1%?

Singapore started their GST implementation at 3% on April 1, 1994 and it stands at 7% now. Great Britain started implementing VAT (Value Added Tax) on April 1, 1973 and currently it stands at 20% – this is okay as it is 20% after four decades.

Some analysts opine that GST in Malaysia could reach 10% by 2020. If it is true, then it is ridiculous. Why such a quick and steep increase? One has to take note that GST will be implemented on April 1, 2015 and if there is any increase in 2020, it should only go up by 1% to 7%.

A quick and substantial increase can only mean one thing – that the BN government is in a dire financial state and they also know that the rakyat will realise this if GST is implemented before GE13. Otherwise, why not implement GST in 2011 or 2012? This shows that the government, knowing that the GST will be unpopular was merely holding on to its implementation until after GE13.


Friday sermons must promote love, not hatred

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 08:45 AM PST 

(TMI) - The Friday sermon, which should be an opportunity to impart knowledge and lessons to Muslims, has instead become a way to spread hate.  

This worsening trend makes it seem like the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim), which prepared these sermons, is dominated by groups whose agenda is to sow discord among Muslims in Malaysia.

Jakim, which is funded by taxpayers, is also being turned into a propaganda tool of certain political groups.

So, it's not surprising that national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said has stopped going to the National Mosque for Friday prayers. Instead, he goes to Masjid India where the sermon is in Tamil which he cannot understand. 

In today's sermon, Jakim declared that Shia Muslims are encouraged to perform acts of sodomy and defend contractual marriages (mutaah).

It said that the spread of Shia in Malaysia was worrying since its followers are those who are educated and have a background in religious scholarship. These followers, it said, were spreading Shia teachings among university students and the public.

"Five of their beliefs include encouraging sodomy, celebrating the Karbala on the 10th of Muharam (the first month in the Muslim calendar), defending the practice of mutaah, questioning the sanctity of the Sunni branch of Islam and declaring themselves the true Sunni," said Jakim in its Friday sermon titled "Virus Shia".

According to Jakim, the Fatwa Council in 1996 had declared that Shia was haram in Malaysia and made it compulsory for Malaysian Muslims to only follow the teachings, customs and beliefs of the Sunni branch of Islam.

But where was Jakim when former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the minister in charge of religious affairs at that time, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Othman, signed the Amman Message of 2005 in Jordan to recognise Islam's diverse branches such as Sunni, Syiah, Ibadi and Thahiri?

"Whoever follows one of the four Sunni sects (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafie and Hambali), or the two Shia sects (Jaafari and Zaydi), or the Ibadi sect and the Thahiri sect is a Muslim.

"It is impossible to declare them as ignorant and deviant," said the agreement that was also signed by Malaysia.

Read more at: 

20 Points: A ‘bomb’ in backburner

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 08:42 AM PST 

(Borneo Post) - Razaleigh reasoned that information on the formation of Malaysia in the public domain were either insufficient or nonexistent at all.

Malaysians in the peninsula are not disrespecting the special rights of Sabah and Sarawak as specified in the Malaysian Agreement but are simply ignorant about the history of the formation of Malaysia, said Tengku Razaliegh Hamzah.

The Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah) president, who is affectionately known as Ku Li, said those from Peninsular Malaysia had no intention to purposely belittle or brush aside the issues brought up by the people from the two states in regard to their rights.


However, they lack the knowledge and understanding of historical facts that could enable them to grasp the significance of the issues being raised to Sabah and Sarawak, particularly the 20 Points and the 18 Points.


"From my observation, I think it is not too much to say that most of the people from the middle age group in Sabah and Sarawak do not know much about the formation of Malaysia, let alone the same age group in Semenanjung Malaysia," he said when delivering his keynote address for the Roundtable Forum on 'Malaysia and the Non-Fulfillment of the 20-Point Agreement with Sabah', here, yesterday.


Razaleigh reasoned that information on the formation of Malaysia in the public domain were either insufficient or nonexistent at all.


This absence of information and the consequent ignorance and misconceptions, he said, has caused a lot of tension between Malaysians on the opposite sides of the South China Sea.


Razaleigh, who in May presented a talk on the same topic for the Royal Asiatic Society in Kuala Lumpur, said there had been many complaints voiced out by the people and leaders from Sabah and Sarawak on the issue but they were never taken seriously.


He regretted that the continuing outcry from Sabah and Sarawak on the matter over the years had not encouraged many people to find out and learn about the widely forgotten historical facts despite the availability of the Internet that has made accessing such information much easier.


Among the common misconceptions that irked east Malaysians the most, he noted, was the inaccurate labeling of Sabah and Sarawak as just another two states with the same state status like the 11 member states of Malaya.


Even more saddening, the lack of knowledge was not limited to the people on the ground but also very common among leaders and those with political influences in Peninsular Malaysia, he said.


"Certainly, this misconception is not on purpose but due to poor knowledge. I am confident that this misunderstanding (between east and west Malaysia) is not due to any ill intention or misgivings," he said.


Razaleigh said Sabah and Sarawak had been voicing their dissatisfaction since the early 80s but the issue was never discussed in official forums and remained a ticking time bomb that could explode and cause chaos at any time.


The current Parliament, like the previous ones, has also seen the 20-Point Agreement being brought up by representatives from Sabah but the issue was not given priority nor debated.


He stressed that the issue must be addressed and all the misconceptions be corrected before they become a much more serious issue that could put the nation's stability in jeopardy.


He suggested accurate and clear information on the formation of Malaysia, including the role and special rights of Sabah and Sarawak, should be made available and easier to access, by incorporating them into the school curriculum.


"We need to explain that 31 August is not significant to Sabah and Sarawak, no matter how grandeur the celebration. It is only a date when Malaya gained its independence.


"Sept 16, or Hari Malaysia on the other hand, is much more important and should be celebrated as one of the important dates in Malaysia's history.


"I must also say that even though the 20-Points and 18-Points have been incorporated into the Constitution, it is not befitting to say that these two agreements no longer exist or relevant," he said.


He noted both documents were supposed to be reviewed 10 years after the formation of Malaysia and a special committee was set up in 1973 to review the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Agreement.


However other pressing matters at that moment prevented the committee from completing the task, and the review was further delayed and eventually forgotten after Tun Dr Ismail, the chairman of the committee, died in 1973 followed by the passing of the then Prime Minister Tun Razak in 1976.


"Tun Razak had a noble intention of preserving the good relationship between Malaya and Sabah/Sarawak, but this goodwill was put on hold due to pressing matters at the time. Perhaps, the review can be reconsidered in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Malaysia this year," he said.


'Azmin, Khalid fighting over personal interests'

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 08:23 AM PST

SPLIT DOWN THE MIDDLE: Pay hike was merely an excuse to brawl, says academic

(NST) - SELANGOR PKR is heading towards a deep split, with  party deputy president and Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman Azmin Ali likely to begin clamouring to oust Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

Independent economic macro-analyst Prof Dr Hoo Ke Ping said Azmin's "fight" against Khalid on the state government's recent salary and allowance increases for lawmakers was merely a reason for him to strengthen his position.

"The duo are fighting over personal interest and this salary hike is only an excuse."

Speaking about the pay hike, he said the hike disregarded the sensitivity of the people.

He added that the money could have been used to give out scholarships for students in Selangor or to solve the frequent flooding incidents in the state.

"The money could have been used for the benefit of the people and the nation instead of for leaders who do not see eye to eye."

The Selangor legislative assembly had, on Wednesday, approved pay cheque increases of 106 per cent for Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and increases of 373 per cent for the speaker, deputy speaker (268 per cent), state assemblymen (87.5 per cent) and exco members (231 per cent).

Political analyst, Associate Professor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, said the unprecedented salary hike should not have happened, especially without a consensus.

"There was no consensus reached on the hike. Before the implementation, there should have been a consultation session," Sivamurugan of Universiti Sains Malaysia told the New Straits Times yesterday.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Social Science and Humanities Faculty lecturer Associate Professor Datuk Dr Samsul Adabi Mamat said the setback to the high pay hike was that no research was done and the hike was implemented quickly .

"Even pay hikes for public servants are done in stages and not in one shot.

"If the pay hike was done together with the state's public servants, then there may be a rationale (behind the hike)."

He said it showed that the state government was greedy, but added that there might be a political conflict brewing, as Pakatan de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had also expressed his disagreement over the issue.

1Malaysia Foundation chairman Dr Chandra Muzaffar, who also found the pay hike too exorbitant, said the hike was untimely, as the people were feeling the pinch from the rising cost of living.

"When ordinary people are struggling to make ends meet, I think this hefty pay hike is unreasonable."

It was reported that Khalid had directed his displeasure at Azmin, telling him to either take the new salary or donate it, adding that the increment was considered "low and reasonable".


Higher salaries for Penang assemblymen expected, Johor mooting increase

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 08:06 AM PST

(The Star) - Penang is expected to increase the salary and allowances of its 40 assemblymen, taking the lead from Selangor - but at a lower quantum.

The increase will see the salary of assemblyman from RM4,112.79 to RM6,000.

Allowances for the assemblymen will also be increased from RM2,000 to RM5,500, comprising special allowances (RM1,500), driver fixed allowances (RM1,500), fixed transport allowance (RM1,000), miscellaneous allowances (RM1,000) and housing allowance (RM500).

In total, this will increase remuneration for assemblymen from the current RM6,112.79 to RM11,500.

It is believed that the announcement will be announced by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng at the end of the state legislative meeting on Dec 19.

Meanwhile, in KLUANG, the Johor state government is studying a proposal to increase the salaries of its elected representatives, but at a lesser scale than that of the Selangor state assembly.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said he felt that Selangor's new salary scale state was too high.

He said Johor was looking at suitable salary hike and the focus would be on elected representatives.

"Even there is an increment, it will be insignificant for Mentri Besar and exco (member positions)," he said, adding that the Mentri Besar receives a salary for both positions.

"Those who have to work more are elected representatives, thus the increment here will not be like Selangor.

When asked whether the salary increment in Johor would happen next year, Mohamed Khaled said no decision was made yet as Johor's elected-representatives were "not desperate".

The salaries of the Mentri Besar, executive councillors, Speaker, deputy Speaker and assemblymen of Selangor will be increased by up to nearly 400% next year.

Increases ranging from 87% to 373% were passed at the state legislative assembly following approval by the executive council on Nov 22.


PKR rep hits out at Teng for stating the obvious

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 07:41 AM PST

Meena Lakshana,

Amid the kerfuffle within Pakatan Rakyat over the sharp salary increase of Selangor's elected representatives, state executive councillor (exco) Datuk Teng Chang Khim is in the line of fire from a coalition colleague for "stating the obvious".

Batu Caves assembly member Amirudin Shari, of PKR, today hit out at Teng for noting that Selangor Pakatan Backbenchers Club president Mohamed Azmin Ali did not raise objections when the issue was debated in the state assembly sitting.

"I am of the view that it is improper for an exco to issue the following statement which only aggravates the situation," he said in a statement.

"There is no practice in Commonwealth countries whereby the BBC's role is to object to a motion tabled by the government of the day," he added.

Teng had reportedly said today Bukit Antarabangsa assembly member Mohamed Azmin was present at the sitting while the bill was debated and passed but did not voice any objections to it. 

"He didn't utter a word," said Teng. "Even the opposition, none of them uttered a word," he had said.

Amirudin said the motion should have been discussed at the pre-council meeting to obtain the BBC's approval as practised in other Commonwealth countries.

"I have to underline the fact that the BBC's role in the assembly sitting is to support motions put forth by the government," he said.

"We just want to have communication between the government and the BBC," he added.

Amirudin said while the BBC is not averse to the motion on the salary hike, the assembly members are of the view that it should be done at a reasonable rate.

He also said the state government should prioritise efforts to increase the basic facilities of assembly members such as their office space, provision of research officers, library facilities and a better online hansard system.

The salary hike for the elected representatives and top leadership, announced by Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim on Wednesday, was passed unanimously by the state assembly yesterday.

The pay hike, effective January 1, 2014, will see elected representatives garnering an increase in monthly salary from RM6,000 to RM11,250, state executive councillors from RM6,109.29 to RM20,250.

Meanwhile, Abdul Khalid will see his paycheck increase from RM14,175.15 to RM29,250, Speaker Hannah Yeoh from RM6,109.29 to RM22,500 and deputy speaker Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad from RM3,327.50 to RM15,750.

The salary hike has received criticism from Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders while Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Azmin had also said the hike was a "tad high."


Sabahan politicians popular for the wrong reasons

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 07:35 AM PST

Sean Augustin,

The 11 PKR divisional leaders who resigned from the party have reinforced the stereotype that Sabahan politicians were unreliable, its deputy secretary-general Darell Leiking said.

In stating this, the Penampang MP also believes that political parties would be more wary of Sabahan politicians, compared to before because several individuals have caused the public to question their principles.
"We Sabahans are getting popular for the wrong reason, as people who cannot be trusted. Sad," he told
He was commenting on Tuesday's announcement which saw the group, which included two assemblymen, Datuk Jelani Hamdan (Matunggong) and Jeremy Malajad (Kadamaian), due to their loss of confidence with the opposition party.
Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman, said a second wave of resignation could also be expected.
Sabahan political leaders, across the divide, have in the past on several occasions abandoned their parties to join their rivals, with the most significant crossover taking place in 1994 where several Parti Bersatu Sabah assemblymen defected to BN or formed their own parties.
This saw the fourth-term PBS government – then an opposition party – last only two weeks.
Leiking said it was unfortunate that the state has become the land where politicians used the rakyat as an excuse to leave the party, adding his believe the elected representatives can still serve the constituency even if they were at odds with the party.
He however understood if politicians abandoned the party if it changed "drastically", where its constitution or purpose became "morally and legally" wrong to the point it caused substantive change.
Leiking went on to suggest that the party comes up with a  check list and get future candidates to make an open declaration to the electorates that they will not betray their trust.
"Record it, video it and affirm it.
"We need a new culture of trust where leaders are to stand firm and be trusted to execute their mandate without crossing over." he said.

Khalid’s pay: What RM29,250? It’s RM50k!

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 07:29 AM PST

Above the basic salary, Khalid Ibrahim will also be drawing emoluments from other portfolios

Alyaa Azhar, FMT

Come end of January 2014, Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim would not be pocketing merely RM29,250 in salary, instead he will be receiving more than RM50,000.

This is because other than receiving salary for being the state's Menteri Besar, he is also eligible to receive payments as a state assemblyman and member of parliament.

As revealed on Wednesday, his salary as the Menteri Besar has increased to RM29,250 while as the Port Klang state assemblyman, he will receive a salary of RM11,250.

Additionally, as Bandar Tun Razak MP, Khalid will earn RM6508.59. In total, from the three mentioned positions, Khalid will draw RM47,008.59.

All these excludes other fringe benefits he enjoys as the Menteri Besar such as RM100 per day for a domestic trip and RM500 on an overseas trip, with accommodation and transportation taken care of.

Former Selangor Menteri Besar Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo told FMT that Khalid is also provided a house and a personal driver. He also receives phone and miscellaneous allowances.

He also revealed that Khalid will receive RM5,000 for every corporation or board meeting he attends as the chairman. Meetings are conducted thrice a year for each corporation.

Khalid is chairman of the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS), Selangor State Investment council (SSIC), Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Berhad (KDEB), Selangor Agricultural Development Corporation (PKPS) and Selangor Housing and Property Board (LPHS).

It was reported on Wednesday that Selangor's Menteri Besar, elected representatives, executive council members, Speaker and Deputy Speaker will receive pay hikes effective Jan 1, 2014.

Under the new salary structure, the pay of assemblymen will be upped 87% from RM6,000 to RM11,250 a month while the Menteri Besar will have a pay rise of 106.4%, from RM14,175 to RM29,250.




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