Khamis, 28 November 2013

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Pay Hike for Legislators - Important Reform

Posted: 28 Nov 2013 11:36 AM PST

http://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/Images/TSOL/Photos-Gallery/Nation/2013/11/27/CA0E0103.ashx?w=620&h=413&crop=1& 

The pay hike for legislators and state executives is an important step towards real reform that could present a rare window of opportunity to bring about radical change. 

 

Ong Eu Soon

 


Over the past decades, Barisan has kept the pay for legislators and state executives artificially low to deny them financial freedom. The pay hike is commensurate with the positions and responsibilities of legislators and state executives. The pay hike could effectively serve as a deterrent to lawmakers succumbing to the temptation to seek illicit or unethical means of augmenting their salaries.

Anwar Ibrahim should have the audacity to view the pay hike in a positive light and stop acting ambiguously over the pay hike issue. Anwar should realise that living off the present wage is barely living for all the legislators in the country. The current pay is just wages earned by part-timers.

 

Something has to be done that represents a total change in how the Legislature is run. We should ensure that the legislators and the state executives cease to be designated as part-time employees, and accept strict limitations on outside income and more stringent oversight of their potential conflicts of interest.

The pay hike will attract people who are excited to be a full time legislator that will clear them of potentials for conflicts of interest with their career paths.

I reiterate my call for the Penang state government to embrace the Selangor or the Sarawak state government's idea of raising the minimum wage to RM12,500 or RM15,000 per month for the state legislators.

 

 

PAS’ uncertainty is Pakatan’s biggest dilemma as coalition eyes Putrajaya

Posted: 28 Nov 2013 11:16 AM PST

http://www.theantdaily.com/sites/default/files/styles/article_single_large/public/images/articlesPAS-uncertainty-is-Pakatans-biggest-dilemma_1024x576.jpg.transformed.jpg?itok=nZQp3NaF 

Several themes, some unsettling, had sprung up from the just-concluded PAS annual general assembly. Some of them are going to determine how PAS intends to chart its direction or 'tahaluf siyasi' (political consensus) with its allies in Pakatan.

Khoo Kay Peng, The Ant Daily 

It is too early for leaders and supporters of Pakatan Rakyat to feel overly jubilant over the results of PAS' latest party elections. Mohamad Sabu had successfully defended his deputy president position against his challenger, Datuk Mohd Amar Nik, with a 98-vote majority or barely 9 per cent of the total votes.

Mohamad, who is popularly known as Mat Sabu, is seen as a strong supporter of PAS' liaison with both the DAP and PKR. Mat Sabu shares cordial relationships with top leaders of both parties and he is seen as the leader of a pro-Pakatan faction within his party.

To the leaders and supporters of Pakatan, the victory of Mat Sabu is a clear endorsement of PAS' intention to remain in the coalition. However, the fact that it was a straight fight between the "Erdogan" and the ulama candidates showed that the latter is consolidating its forces to keep PAS on the original track of promoting an Islamic state and protecting the Islamic values.

An ulama candidate, Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, was elected as a vice-president. Joining him were Datuk Husam Musa, who enjoys a solid support from the party's spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, and Salahudin Ayub.

The line-up shows that the delegates wanted an inclusive team to consider all interests within the party and they are not willing to allow any particular faction to dominate the direction of the party.

The top three winners in the central committee elections were Idris Ahmad with 927 votes, Mazlan Aliman, 840 and Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, 688. The delegates' choices indicated their priority for the party.

Idris is a leader of the ulama faction and Mazlan is the head of Anak, an NGO representing the second and third generations of Felda settlers. Felda settlements are considered to be pro-Umno. Mazlan is seen as an important figure to help PAS spread its influence in these settlements. Meanwhile, Nizar has been touted as a top leader of the 'Erdogan' faction after his short-lived tenure as the menteri besar of Perak in 2008.

Read more at: http://www.theantdaily.com/news/2013/11/29/pas-uncertainty-pakatans-biggest-dilemma-coalition-eyes-putrajaya 

MB: Pay decision final, Selangor's hike smaller than Sarawak's

Posted: 28 Nov 2013 10:37 AM PST

http://www.fz.com/sites/default/files/styles/1_landscape_slider_photo/public/PEO_KHALID_HH_1.jpg 

Khalid: If you disagree, leave it or donate it. 

(fz.com) - "The pay rise is final."

Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said there is no question of withdrawing the big salary rise announced for assemblypersons, pointing out that it had been approved by both Pakatan Rakyat and BN representatives.

He said the hike is justifiable as it is based on the recent sharp rise in the salaries of Sarawak assemblypersons.

"During the budget meeting, I did say I'm worried about this (pay rise), so I explained to the them (assemblypersons), that if both Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional members agree, I will consider using Sarawak (assemblypersons') salary level as the base for calculation, but the rise will be lower than that.

"And everyone agreed," he said in response to the Selangor Backbenchers Club (BBC) chairperson Azmin Ali's call earlier today for the pay hike to be postponed pending a review.

Azmin had said that there was supposed to be a study carried out to examine the pay hike proposal, but he hadn't seen it at all. Hence the pay rise should be reviewed.

Khalid however, dismissed any possibility of withdrawing the decision.

"It is his (Azmin's) right to defer salary payment. For example, if there is a parliamentary salary increase, there are people who accept the rise but then donate it to charity. So they can do this.

"If you disagree, leave it or donate it," said Khalid.

"Salary has been decided and people will decide if we perform or not," he added.

The menteri besar said that the rise is justifiable because Selangor contributes 25% to the nation's GDP.

In comparison, Sarawak contributes less than 10%, and yet the revised slaries for Selangor is lower than Sarawak's.

"What we did was, we take 75% of Sarawak (assemblyperson's) salaries as the basis of our calculation. So we are not the highest in Malaysia, Sarawak is.

"And then of course we are very transparent, we adjust it to the previous salary, if you look at this, the way Sarawak did, their speaker's pay jumped from RM9,000 to RM39,000, (state) minister's pay rose from RM9,000 to RM 27,000. Our increase did not exceed theirs," he said.

He added that economists were of the view that salaries of elected representatives in Malaysia is very low, so the hike was reasonable.

 

Mahasiswa Tak Tahu Malu Hanya Memalukan Negara

Posted: 28 Nov 2013 10:15 AM PST

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7WAV7sATu6k/UBxeOEkKYyI/AAAAAAAAAG8/RRyVOqSejC4/s310/LOGO%2BTFTN.jpg 

"Skor banyak A. Masuk universiti. Kejar pointer tinggi-tinggi. Dapat kerja bagus. Gaji besar. Rumah besar. Hidup senang lenang. Jadi hamba kapitalis. Definisi belajar kita? Di mana sumbangan untuk pembinaan tamadun? Persoalan yang sering bermain di minda."

Rusni Tajari

 
Pesta meraikan Konvokesyen
 
Forum Idelisme Gen-Y anjuran mahasiswa UIAM bersempena dengan Pesta Konvokesyen kali yang ke-29 pada 14 november lalu telah memperlihatkan kepada kita peri pentingkan perbincangan-perbincangan sebegini dan perlu lagi banyak untuk di ketengahkan. Melihat kepada keperluan masa kini, Gen-Y ini merupakan anak-anak muda yang begitu bersemangat dalam melakukan sesuatu perkara. Di barisi oleh ahli panel yang tidak asing bagi mahasiswa kini yakni Saudara Anas Alam Faizli, Teach for the Needs (TFTN), saudara Ally Iskandar personaliti TV3 dan Imam Muda Adan.  
 
Jujur kata, melihat kepada ketiga barisan ahli panel ini, sudah pasti kita akan dapat sisi pandang yang jauh berbeza kerana mereka yang daripada latar belakang yang berbeza. Pun begitu, itulah yang harus diraikan. Soal perbezaan yang ketara dalam memberikan pandangan juga merupakan sesuatu yang harus di cerna dan di nilai. 
 
Mengapa Gen-Y? 
 
Jika dikatakan Gen-Y, satu perkara yang bermain di minda ialah mereka merupakan golongan yang menjadi harapan kepada pembaharuan. Mungkin mudah kita fahami bahawa generasi Y ini sebenarnya golongan-golongan muda yang sering dikaitkan dengan idea-idea yang baru, janggal, pelik malah ada kalanya radikal serta relevan untuk berdepan dengan realiti masa kini. Apa kelebihan yang ada pada Gen-Y ini? Mereka pemuda-pemudi tin kosong yang hanya ribut menentang itu dan ini atas nama mahasiswa sahajakah? Atau mereka memang tidak punya idealisme yang tersendiri dan hanya menjadi boneka parti-parti politik sahajakah?

Begitu banyak perkara yang merungsingkan dan menjadi kedukaan kepada kita bilamana mahasiswa ini seolah-olah tidak mampu keluar dari kerangka yang lebih besar dan berfikir berpuluh tahun kehadapan. Ini bukan omong kosong mahupun lawak kampus. Lihat saja kepada program-program yang di anjurkan oleh mahasiswa. Boleh dibilang dengan jari saja yang berani untuk membawa yang berbentuk intelektual dan mencabar minda. Kalau adapun hanya bersifat "one-off" dan berpenyakit "grand", "mega" dan sebagainya.

Program dibuat bermusim dan hanya menatijahkan "starpoint" ataupun untuk mengumpul markah tertentu yang menunjukkan penglibatan mereka. Mereka turun ke jalanan atas dasar "Ini untuk assignment", "kena hantar laporan". Mahasiswa apa ini? Apakah mereka tidak tahu malu dengan masyarakat di luar sana yang dalam kebingunan dan mendamba "sang pembebas" yang mampu menyelamatkan mereka dari belenggu politikus-politikus dan birokrat-birokrat rakus yang senantiasa mencari ruang untuk memiliki seberapa banyak yang mereka mahu?

Kesalahan sistem atau kekontangan idealisme?

Menurut Muhammad Abu Bakar (1973), mahasiswa memegang status sosial yang begitu tinggi di dalam masyarakat. Ini kerana mereka merupakan sekumpulan individu-individu yang seharusnya berperanan sebagai perantara antara masyarakat dan kerajaan. Mereka ada menduduki suatu institusi yang bebas dan mempunyai ruang yang sangat besar dan berpotensi tinggi untuk menjadi rujukan kepada kerajaan dalam apa-apa polisi.

Mengulas sedikit sisi pandang yang di lontarkan oleh Saudara Anas berkaitan sistem pendidikan kita yang menyebabkan punca berlakunya sindrom duduk-senyap ikut arahan saja. Betul, ini tidak dapat kita nafikan. Namun, sampai bila sistem harus disalahkan? Apakah mahasiswa yang hidup di zaman teknologi ini tidak mampu bangkit dan memberi kesan kepada sistem? Begitu banyak ruang-ruang dalam sistem yang kosong dan berlubang-lubang yang boleh mahasiswa ambil peranan mengambil tanggungjawab membuktikan sebaliknya dan membelakangi sistem.

Saat kerajaan mengeluarkan Pelan Pembangunan Pendidikan 2013-2025, di mana suara mahasiswa pendidikan kita untuk memberikan kritikan yang kritikal terhadap isu ini? Saat kerajaan membentang Bajet (baca: belanjawan) 2014, kita pun terkial-kial menunggu apa kata Pakatan Rakyat, apa kata NGO-NGO.

Di mana suara mahasiswa ekonomi untuk memberikan pandangan dan menyentuh baik buruknya bajet (baca: belanjawan) dari kerajaan ini? Apakah ada kesatuan mahasiswa yang dibentuk menjelajah ke seluruh negara bagi mendapatkan pandangan mahasiswa seluruhnya secara objektif tentang ruang-ruang penambahbaikan yang boleh dicadangkan mahupun semangat ingin memastikan pelan yang begitu cantik itu terlaksana tanpa ada ketirisan?

Persoalan-persoalan seperti ini tidak akan mampu dijawab oleh mahasiswa jika mereka masih berdegil dan mementingkan diri sendiri. Demokrasi partisipatif yang diidam-idamkan begitu jauh dari terlaksana. Paling tinggi pun mahasiswa hanya mampu melihat politik melalui kaca mata parti-parti politik idaman mereka. Sedangkan, mereka tidak sedar kita masih tertinggal ramai anak-anak muda yang masih lagi atas pagar. Contohnya di dalam pilihanraya, undi anak muda terutama yang pertama kali mengundi adalah sangat penting. Mengikut Pusat Kajian Politik dan Pilihan Raya Universiti Malaya (UMCEDEL) ketika menjelang pilihan raya, sebanyak 48 peratus pengundi kali pertama masih belum menentukan pilihan.

Kenapa trend sebegini wujud? Apakah mereka sebenar-benar tidak cakna akan politik? Atau pada pandangan mereka melihat politik menerusi parti politik itu sangat membebankan? Sehingga mereka tidak tahu mahu memilih siapa. Mungkinkah ini menunjukkan betapa ada ruang supaya mahasiswa bersatu semata-mata atas nama mahasiswa yang benar-benar ikhlas membantu masyarakat dan menegakkan keadilan sosial tanpa apa-apa aspirasi jawatan Ketua Pemuda, Ketua Cawangan mahupun Ahli-Ahli Dewan Pusat?

Tanggungjawab dan kerja sosial
 
Kerja sosial ni apa sebenarnya? Tanggungjawab ataupun saja-saja ngin mengisi masa lapang buat program sandiwara atau bersifat reactionari semata-mata?

Menurut Ekman & Amna (2009), Putnam menggunakan istilah "civic engagement" yang memberi maksud modal sosial yang menjadi pra-syarat kewujudan sebuah masyarakat demokratik. "Civic Engagement" ini bukan suatu sandiwara program bermusim. Skopnya begitu luas yang mementingkan beberapa aktiviti-aktiviti seperti kekerapan membaca surat khabar, penglibatan aktif dalam isu-isu kemasyarakatan, membina hubungan baik dengan badan-badan kemanusiaan dan pelbagai lagi projek-projek yang membumi.

Pada tahun 1998, penubuhan Universiti Bangsar Utama (UBU), merupakan salah satu contoh yang sehingga ke hari ini telah menjadi ikon aktivisme yang seharusnya diberi pujian dalam banyak kes kemasyarakatan seperti kes perobohan Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina di Damansara, perobohan rumah peneroka bandar di Kampung Berembang, dan protes pembinaan empangan di Sungai Selangor.

Kelab Mahasiswa TFTN (Teach for The Needs) yang baru ditubuhkan juga masih merangkak dalam dunia aktivisime memperjuangkan anak-anak corot dan yatim dan mengharap penglibatan lebih dari mahasiswa untuk merespon isu-isu masyarakat dengan lebih berstruktur melalui platform apa pun. Ruang-ruang politik baru telah membuka banyak jalan kepada mahasiswa untuk menyumbang secara fungsional mahupun structural dalam berperanan dengan lebih kukuh dan mampu memberdaya masyarakat secara kolektif dan efisyen.
 
Meneroka ilmu di luar-luar kelas

Kebanyakan mahasiswa masih membiarkan diri mereka terperangkap dengan pelajaran di dalam kelas. Di samping mengharapkan ilmu seputar nota-nota pensyarah, mereka juga sentiasa bersiap siaga untuk menghadapi Tuhan peperiksaan yang mereka begitu gentar untuk berhadapan dengannya.Sudahlah tidak bertanggungjawab ke atas amanah ilmu yang di pegang, ditambah pula dengan berbangga mampu bergraduasi selepas beberapa tahun pengajian. Kemudian hanya hilang ditelan arus tatlaka menjejakkan kaki ke dunia pekerjaan dan menjadi hamba kepada keinginan material yang tidak pernah padam.
 
Persoalannya, Gen-Y yang semacam inikah yang kita harap dan agung-agungkan? Dari segi apa lagi masyarakat dapat bergantung kepada mereka? Persoalan terlalu banyak untuk di rungkaikan. Saat pengakhiran kepada forum ini aku berfikir sendirian. Sepanjang menjadi mahasiswa, geladangan mana yang telah telah aku suapkan makanan ke mulut mereka? OKU mana yang telah aku memberdaya? Anak yatim mana yang telah aku titipkan kasih saying dan menjadi ganti kepada ibu atau bapa mereka? Hak-hak golongan miskin mana yang telah aku perjuangkan? Golongan pekerja mana yang telah aku temui dan memikirkan masalah mereka? Sampai bilakah aku ingin memahatkan diriku ke dalam istana universiti serba-kongkong ini dan terus terpenjara di sebalik cermin-cemin kelas?

Aku percaya begitu banyak realiti-realiti diluar yang boleh mengajar kita lebih dari apa yang kelas mampu sediakan.Begitu banyak manusia yang perlu aku santuni dan bantu. Dan aku percaya mahasiswa sepatutnya percaya akan potensi mereka sendiri. Sudah berapa artikel yang telah dikeluarkan bagi menjengah mahasiswa untuk bangkit. Tiadalah daya apa lagi jika anda sendiri tidak mahu menyahut seruan itu. Akhir kata,anak muda, carilah jalan hidupmu, cabarlah dengan hikmah.

"Idealisme adalah kemewahan terakhir yang hanya dimiliki oleh pemuda." ― Tan Malaka

*Rusni Tajari merupakan seorang mahasiswa UIA dan setiausaha agung Kelab Mahasiswa TFTN.

Azmin leads attack on Khalid over pay hikes

Posted: 28 Nov 2013 08:59 AM PST

'AUDACIOUS': It's taxpayers' money, PKR No. 2 tells Selangor menteri besar

ADIB POVERA AND EUNICE AU, NST

THE usual suspects in the  Selangor political saga were  tossing  criticisms at each other yesterday over the audacious pay hike for the menteri besar, executive councillors, speaker, deputy speaker and assemblymen.

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

Azmin Ali, who is PKR deputy president and chief tormentor of Khalid, pounced on the statewide backlash to pile the pressure on the menteri besar.

"It is the taxpayers' money, He (Khalid) owes them an explanation," he said at the Parliament lobby.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is the Selangor economic adviser as well as the defacto leader of PKR, too, was left ruing the hike.

"I think the menteri besar should reconsider the hike.

"I was told that the increase is a bit high and he has to explain to Pakatan," Anwar said.

He went on to suggest the increases were indeed "too high".

Khalid directed this displeasure at Azmin, telling the younger man, who, as assemblyman, would be getting a pay rise, to either take the new salary or donate it.

"That's his (Azmin) right to object. Some can take it or leave it or donate part or the entire amount to charity.

"This is applicable to all.

"Anyone who is not happy with the new salary adjustment can choose to not take their salaries," Khalidsaid at the Dewan Negeri Selangor lobby.

He said the increment was considered "low and reasonable".

Selangor Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Noh Omar summed up the party's stance.

He said when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had earlier hinted at the possibility of an increase in parliamentarians' allowance, Pakatan members of parliament had rejected the proposal, saying that representatives should consider the people as it was taxpayers' money.

"Pakatan claims that their main agenda is to fight for the people... the same MP who opposed the pay hike proposal in Parliament is also a member of the Selangor state assembly.

"I do not see the same individual opposing the move in the state assembly."

Political punditry was actively analysing the latest twist given the traditional Khalid-Azmin feud. Khalid had long been replaced by Azmin as the state party chief.

Despite being a PKR assemblyman, Khalid is reportedly propped up largely by the 30 assemblymen from Pas and DAP.

Political analyst, Associate Professor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, tracked Anwar's latest political attitude, culminating in his public criticism of Khalid.

"Perhaps, Anwar is tapping into this issue to test the water at the grassroots level," Sivamurugan of Universiti Sains Malaysia said.

Sivamurugan said the unprecedented salary hike might have a negative impact on the legitimacy of the state government since the matter was opposed by Pakatan leaders and supporters.

Last Sunday, during PKR's special national congress, Anwar, in jest, had criticised Khalid after he alleged the latter was slow in taking action on his advice.

Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) political and international studies senior lecturer Md Shukri Shuib questioned why Anwar did not object to the increment earlier since he is the Selangor economic adviser.

"He (Anwar) has been telling people that he was appointed economic adviser for Selangor.

"Anwar should have advised the menteri besar not to go ahead with the salary increment."

He said there was this growing conflict between Khalid and Anwar, who is in favour of Azmin.

Another political analyst, Datuk Dr Ramlah Adam, said Anwar's outburst over the matter was a way for PKR to hide it weaknesses.

"DAP is administering Penang while Pas is the state government for Kelantan.

"Selangor is supposed to be the role model for PKR but they blew it with the salary hike," she said.

FATWAS on THANKSGIVING DAY?, Part 1

Posted: 28 Nov 2013 08:48 AM PST

Azly Rahman

No, I am not asking if celebrating the quintessentially American celebration is halal or haram for Muslims. There is no question of the importance, the value, and the beauty of this secular day of remembering a day of showing the year's gratitude, albeit the contentious history of it. The only question is whether to pardon or not to pardon a turkey.

azlanNo, I have been thinking of what fatwas are right till today: Thanksgiving Day. I have been coming up with tens of my "personal fatwas" for  own consumption after thinking that many of the fatwas I have come across, produced even by "Islamic clerics and scholars" do not make sense nor appeal to my critical sensibility. I hope to produce more. See here for samples.

Religion is culture, I propose. Production of knowledge is a cultural act. Scriptures are cultural-bound and the stories they tell have plots, settings, characterisations, and themes that are culturally or even tribalistically bound.

Consider stories in the Jewish and Christian Bibles and also in the Quran. They speak to the culture of the people of the Fertile Crescent. Consider the Vedas, Sutras, Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharatta, the Bahagavda Gita. They are cultural stories.

azlanConsider the Analects of Kung Fu Tze, the Tao Te' Ching, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and the Lotus Sutra. They are stories of specific peoples. The become canonical through the promotion of the ideology of their supremacy and through the elevation of the status of the "holiness" of these books. The become "sacred" through the process of being made "holy and sacred" via "rites, ritual, spiritual-authoritisation, legitimisation, and mystification" of these texts.

They are made "universalising" through conquest, colonisation, and imperialist expansion via the act of "civilizing mission", "crusade", "jihad" or any acts that turns religion into a reason to go to war between the "believers and non-believers" with the message of "Accept this or that religion … for your salvation"  with or without swords, guns, rocket-launchers, or missiles - so that the "empire of faith" can be established and expanded.

These are done either through coercion or by force. Through covert or overt operations. Through McDonaldisation of religion or through designer belief systems franchised via the use of broadcast and digital media, financed by big businesses backed by the ethos of this and that religious ethics and the spirit of capitalism.

Religions have evolved into this fundamental character and the call for this or that religious laws to be enacted have matured with the advancement of advanced communication technologies. And in the case of Islam, fatwas may help advance that need to control and make minds be coerced, whether these edicts appeal to pure reason or transport the mind to a cognitive world of pure ridiculousness.

What are fatwas?

READ MORE HERE

 

Massive salary increase shocking, says Johor MB

Posted: 28 Nov 2013 08:36 AM PST

(The Star) - The massive salary increase approved by the Selangor state assembly is shocking, especially since the Opposition is constantly chiding Barisan Nasional for not spending money wisely, said Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

He said the decision made by the Opposition-held state was a contrast to what it had always been preaching.

"The increase is too high, especially when compared to the salaries of those at the federal level.

"It is now up to the people of Selangor to decide and take a stand on the matter," he said.

Mohamed Khaled added that in Johor, they were contemplating an increase in salaries for elected representatives and the Mentri Besar, but the state government would never agree to such a steep rise.

"The salaries of our assemblymen, speaker and Mentri Besar have remained the same for many years now and it is time for a change."

In Johor, the basic salary of a state representative is RM5,000, the state Speaker's is RM6,109.29 and the Mentri Besar's is RM14,907.20 while an executive councillor earns RM6,500 a month.

The state representatives receive additional monthly allowances amounting to about RM3,150 for transportation, driver, phone bill and postage.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said its state assemblymen would also like a salar­y increment as much as what had been given to their Selangor counterparts.

"The Selangor MB will be earning two to three times my salary.

"But just imagine if a Barisan-led government made such an announcement, what would be the response of the public and those on the other side of the political divide?" Dr Zambry said yesterday.

He added that the Selangor state government could afford the salary increases because "they have a lot of money ... it is the capital and all the activities are happening there".

"But it is important to look at the effect and the burden the people will face due to their actions," he said.

Dr Zambry said that since he took office in 2009, the state government had not conducted a review of its salaries except for a recent increase in the allowance for assemblymen, from RM4,112 to RM6,000 a month.

"We want to think first, in terms of actual need and the level of increase. But we feel there is a need for a review in Perak as well, because it has been a long time since one was made," he said.

Meanwhile, salaries and allowan­ces of the 40 state assemblymen in Penang are expected to increase by about 84% next year.

A source said a proposal for the pay increase would be tabled in the state assembly on Nov 29.

 

Will Pakatan trip over Selangor lawmakers’ pay hike, to BN’s glee?

Posted: 28 Nov 2013 08:28 AM PST

The Malaysian Insider

When lawmakers vote to reward themselves with more pay, what message does that give to the electorate, especially when the state government has been frugal with money in the past five years?

Malaysia's wealthiest state, Selangor, has been subsisting on bare essentials as its Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has been tight with money since taking power in Election 2008. His economic style returned him to power with a bigger majority in the May 5 general election this year.

To the electorate and his own PKR party's surprise, the state chief executive known for his parsimonious ways decided to increase wages for himself, his executive councillors, state speaker, deputy speaker and assemblymen this week.

The Selangor State Legislative Assembly had approved a salary hike for all 56 state assemblymen effective next year, with its deputy speaker getting the highest percentage of 373.3%.

The menteri besar's salary would be increased from RM14,175.15 to RM29,250; state executive committee, from RM6,109.29 to RM20,250; speaker, from RM6,109.29 to RM22,500; deputy speaker, from RM3,327.50 to RM15,750; and state assemblymen from RM6,000 to RM11,250. There are 44 Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers to 12 from Barisan Nasional (BN).

Khalid's move to reward assemblymen is not the first in the country this year. Sarawak decided to triple the pay of its assemblymen earlier this year, making the wages higher than that of federal lawmakers.

Over in Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew years ago went ahead and gave his ministers million-dollar salaries. His justification was that only top drawer salaries could draw top talent into politics and keep corruption at bay.

Decades later, the ruling PAP government is still on the back foot on this salary issue, so much so that current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Lee's son, had to slash salaries after the last polls.

The simple fact is that no one will begrudge politicians a reasonable increase but not a huge jump especially when they still expect their elected representatives to be serving for reasons other than monetary gain.

Especially if they belong to the opposition, which has long campaigned for fiscal and financial responsibility.

Khalid should remember that many people in his state are struggling under a mountain of household debt and are lucky if they get a 10% salary hike a year, which is way below that of the Selangor assemblymen.

After all, the state's last wage adjustment for the lawmakers was just in 2011. While voters in Selangor put them back in power, PR should realise that the salary adjustment could just trip the coalition better than BN could have done.

READ MORE HERE

 

Malays have too much power

Posted: 28 Nov 2013 08:22 AM PST

Zaid Ibrahim, The Malay Mail

It's a common saying from the elderly and the wise: too much of anything is harmful. Now, I think the Malays have too much power and it's gone to their heads.

At the last general election, Utusan Malaysia and Umno actively lambasted the Chinese by casting doubt on their loyalty to the country and asking them to go and live elsewhere. 

When the Chinese, hurt by these accusations, understandably rejected the Barisan Nasional at the polls, Utusan had the temerity to ask, "what more do the [ungrateful] Chinese want?"

Only people who have too much power will conduct themselves in the way Umno and Utusan have. To them, the idea of being sensible and reasonable is unreasonable and weak.

Of course, organisations like Perkasa will tell you that the Malays are losing political power and "enemies" are circling in for the kill. This narrative is attractive to some people, especially retirees like Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman who once headed the Election Commission.

Rashid said he'd signed up with Datuk Ibrahim Ali (they are both from the famous state of Kelantan) to make sure that Malays don't lose power. I cried with laughter when I read this.

Surely the dear Tan Sri knows only too well that the problem with the Malays and their leaders is not that they are losing power, but that they have so much of it that they can no longer appreciate it.

Powerful Malays today do as they like without care for consequence. They don't think about national policies nor do they try to persuade and engage others. They simply impose their will and threaten those who disagree with them.

Right now, PAS and Umno are apparently forging a closer relationship and, to top it all off, the Malay Rulers are more vocal and assertive than they have ever been. Listening to all of them, you'd think that Malays and Islam are under serious daily attack and everyone must get together to defend the race and religion or perish.

The problem is that we know the fears are just imaginary. This is why, besides the rhetoric, none of these "champions" has ever bothered to spell out the accusations or to give hard evidence of what terrible things the Chinese/Christians/Jews/Liberals and so forth are actually doing.

Not only do these self-created fears exist entirely in the heads of leaders in Umno, Utusan and Perkasa, Malay power is actually reaching its zenith under the present Prime Minister. We will have to wait and see what this new power will do to Malays in general.

We can already see some of its effects: Malaysia is the only Muslim country in the world who can claim proprietorship to God's name . This can only happen when the Muslims have too much power for their own good. Even for weekend rest days  we keep changing them; because no one can questioned us.

In such an important portfolio as education, we have two Ministers, two Secretaries-General and two Directors-General and over 50 separate departments. Only a group with too much power will organise things this way—and it is this same group that sends its children to private international schools or public schools in England but asks the rest of their people to learn Arabic and Bahasa Melayu.

Now, coming back to the historic meeting between two of the largest Malay-Muslim political organisations in the country: PAS and Umno. What do you think they will talk about?

I don't think it'll be how to improve education for the people or about enhancing skills and improving English for the global economy. In fact, I don't think the economy will feature at all. There will be no talk about increasing development funds for Kelantan  ' or returning the oil royalty to the state coffers ;or helping them solve the  water problem.I don't think they'll even talk about improving state religious education.

No.

They just want to talk about hudud (which neither party will implement), Islam (which the Holy Quran has declared to be perfect and protected by Allah—therefore nothing needs to be done, right?), and the threat of liberals, NGOs and alliances like Comango. That's what too much power does to you.

Moving on to better things, I was fortunate yesterday to have been a guest of Bank Negara Indonesia at a Forum in which the various political parties assembled to talk about important issues for the Indonesian general election in 2014.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made an excellent presentation. He urged Indonesians to think about economic issues and urged both all political leaders to work together to bolster the country's performance. 

He spoke about enhancing capacity building and overcoming administrative gridlocks. He warned about decreasing imports from large economies and the tightening of money flows from the United States, which has helped Indonesia over the past four years.

He spoke about the need for infrastructure enhancement, especially in the provinces, and challenged presidential aspirants (from his own party and the opposition) to put forward good policies.

Not once did he speak of "enemy forces" working against Indonesians, Islam or the Pancasila. Not once did he rely on false paranoia to gain cheap political capital. Instead, he urged his people to unite to make Indonesia a world economic power.

That is my kind of leader: honest and inspiring. My kind of leader knows that power is limited so he must govern with care because his days are numbered from the moment he takes office.

He or she believes that political power may be used only to discharge the sacred duty to the people while maintaining the principles of democratic government.

It's a tough job to govern responsibly. Umno and other Malay leaders have yet to learn this.

 

Penang DAP election a crowded affair

Posted: 28 Nov 2013 08:13 AM PST

The Penang DAP will see stiff competition among four factions in its party's state level election coming Sunday.

Hawkeye, FMT

Four factions have emerged to battle this Sunday in the Penang state level DAP elections, where 49 candidates were nominated to vie for 15 slots in its committee line-up.

Party insiders, who preferred not to be named due to the sensitive nature of the issue, said the four factions are those allied to secretary-general and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, party veterans, personalities who were dropped or sidelined in the last general election and the party's upstarts.

Those likely to gain attention are the upstarts led by Jagdeep Singh Deo, the eldest son of party chairman Karpal Singh; the outspoken Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi; environmentalist Teh Yee Cheu, the Tanjung Bungah assemblyman as well as Seri Delima assemblyman R.S.N Rayer and Ong Ah Teong – a hard working Penang municipal councillor.

Not to be discounted are the veterans led by the present state DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow, DAP Wanita head Chong Eng, Phee Boon Poh, his brother Phee Boon Chee, Lim Hock Seng, Danny Law Heng Kiang and A Tanasekharan.

Guan Eng's faction is said to be led by his political secretaries Ng Wei Aik and Zairil Khir Johari and Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim.

Deputy Chief Minister II Prof Dr P Ramasamy is also touted as one of the state-level leaders who has a strong chance of faring well due to his work with the Indian community and his position in the government.

While the faction which is said to be fighting for their 'political survival' are those sidelined, namely former Pulau Tikus assemblyman Koay Teng Hai and former Sungai Pinang assemblyman Koid Teng Guan.

Insiders said this election mainly concerns the fate of Ng, Zairil, Jagdeep, Ooi, Koay and the veterans, with rumours persisting that two of them – Chow and Hock Seng – are considering making way for younger talent in the next few years.

The insiders claimed that some quarters in DAP see Ng, Zairil and Sim as 'young men in a hurry', who may not realise that in their quest to reach their political goals, they are stepping on the toes of many 'warlords' in the state.

READ MORE HERE

 

What is an institution without logic?

Posted: 27 Nov 2013 08:27 PM PST

http://i.imgur.com/OQoUswm.jpg 

If Ke$ha was deemed to be controversial to perform here, and if Beyonce was too sexy for our audience, perhaps the time has come for us to look at our own backyard and see what we ourselves are doing before pointing fingers and blaming Western culture for corrupting our children. 

Farah Harith, The Malay Mail  

Before I proceed with this article, allow me to establish my stand: I am not entirely anti-establishment, nor am I a modern liberal.

For the most part, I am a logical person who tries to be as traditional and conservative as I can because I still believe that old school is the best school.

As usual, something has gotten me riled up this week, and it isn't exactly new.With the increased reliance on social networks, particularly Instagram, these applications are no longer being used by ordinary folks like you and me. 

Celebrities, as well as members of royal families, have also taken to social networks to share their lives with the "ever-adoring" public.

Albeit some of their accounts are "padlocked" for alleged privacy, I don't see them vetting the requests. The way I see it, a majority of them will simply approve requests for friends without checking who's making the requests.

The problem here is not so much with celebrities but with royalty. Some of the ladies post pictures of themselves scantily dressed.

What I would like to know is, why are they doing this, and getting away with it, when we are cancelling permits for foreign artistes to come and perform here, because they wear revealing outfits. It is common knowledge that Malaysian royalty are Muslims.

And it is also common knowledge that most of the foreign artistes who want to perform here are non-Muslims.

So the logical part that eludes me here is, why are we insisting that non-Muslims adhere to Muslim dress codes, but we don't impose the same on our fellow Muslims in the country? Aren't members of royal families supposed to uphold Islamic integrity?

Isn't that one of the functions of the royal institution? I am all for tradition, which means I have no problems with maintaining monarchy. However, when the institution itself fails to adhere to logic, what does it say about Malaysia as a Muslim country? Too many questions and yet there are no answers. 

Or perhaps the answers are buried deep in the midst of the mindset that we are not supposed to question these things, instead accept it because that is just how things are supposed to be.

The problem with matters such as these, is that we are not allowed to question them. However, if we choose to adopt logic, the institution can prosper and triumph for many more years to come.

The mindset that when one questions these things, one automatically is branded to be anti-establishment and propagating anarchy, must go. At times, questions are raised so that a solution can be found that will in turn benefit us all. 


READ MORE HERE 

Start of PAS-Umno muzakarah?

Posted: 27 Nov 2013 08:22 PM PST

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/muzakarah.jpg 

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.

READ MORE HERE 

Pakatan: Loga Bala misled Parliament on KL assessment hike

Posted: 27 Nov 2013 08:18 PM PST

http://i.imgur.com/jiiqOFw.jpg

Pathma Subramaniam, Fz.com

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."

 

What Needs to be Done for National Unity

Posted: 27 Nov 2013 08:14 PM PST

http://i967.photobucket.com/albums/ae159/Malaysia-Today/Mug%20shots/kee_thuan_chye.jpg 

Kee Thuan Chye 

Prime Minister Najib Razak has just set up the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) and told its 30 panel members that in the six months they are given to discuss and recommend new measures to foster national unity, they will be free to discuss anything, even sensitive issues like the use of 'Allah' by non-Muslims.

However, I've been told by a reliable source that the panel has been briefed not to bring religion into the discussions because when this is done, things often "go wild". This sounds like a cop-out. And it's already happened even before actual brainstorming has started. So much for Najib's promise that the NUCC could discuss anything. He appears to have been caught out already. How does this instil public faith in the NUCC?

Religion is integral to national harmony. Especially in Malaysia where religion has been politicised for decades. If the NUCC excludes it from its discussions, the harmony equation is grossly incomplete. Then the whole exercise would be another half-baked endeavour. An eyewash. For what? To make Najib look good in the public eye? To show he is doing something about what he calls national reconciliation? Well, a half-hearted effort is not going to be any good, so why waste the public funds?

After all, past exercises and what became of them have already taught us the lesson that they turned out to be nothing but eyewash. They eventually appeared to have been conducted merely to placate a public seeking answers and solutions at the time and then shoved aside after the exercise had been completed.

Notable examples are the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) that recommended the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) in 2005, and the one in 2007 that recommended the appropriate action to be taken against V.K. Lingam, Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, Mohd Eusoff Chin, Vincent Tan, Mahathir Mohamad and Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor for misconduct over the fixing of the appointment of top judges.

Meanwhile, we still await the outcome of the RCI on illegal immigrants in Sabah and the Government's subsequent response to it. Will action be taken on the ensuing recommendations? More important, will the right action be taken? Most Malaysians are not holding their breath. Just as they are not doing it for the NUCC.

Some of the comments I've seen on Facebook about the NUCC indicate this.

One commentor says, "What the Government has failed to do in 50 years, this group can accomplish in six months! Really? Endless possibilities." As most people would know, "endless possibilities" is a satirical dig at the Government's proposed new tagline to either replace or complement 1Malaysia.

Another commentor – let's call him Toshiro – offers well-considered suggestions for promoting unity, which include controlling disunity, by applying existing laws without fear or favour; developing a culture of social embracement and inclusiveness, beginning with the schools as pillars of unity; removing all forms of segregation, starting with the race-based quota; and removing leadership-by-default, thereby allowing talents to manage for the good of the country.

 

He ended by saying, "These are simple actions that do not require knowledge of rocket science!"

In response to his suggestions, another commentor says, "But these are precisely the measures that would destroy Umno!"

Which gives cause for yet another commentor to remark, "I think the NUCC or any council Najib cares to set up is no substitute for leadership. Committees are no substitute for balls."

Indeed. Even if the NUCC did come up with sterling recommendations, especially those that call for radical shifts from the current practice, which no doubt would rock the world that Umno is comfortable doing business in, Najib might still do what the Government has done with the IPCMC – give gutless excuses for not implementing them.

I have a few points of my own about what needs to be done for national unity. Some of them coincide with Toshiro's. While his are spelt out in broader terms, I'm looking more at specific actions.

To truly end the division in our society, I would propose banning the use of the word 'Bumiputera'. This is such an obvious thing to do, really. We should not be Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputeras. We are all Malaysians. The Government should promote that idea.

This of course would mean the end of affirmative action for Bumiputeras. So let us switch to a programme that is based on needs instead of race. Even from a universal perspective, that would be socially more acceptable.

Another important thing to do is to inculcate racial harmony and equality in schools. That's the first place to begin because the young must be properly educated on this.

Currently, however, that is not the practice. Parents have plenty of horror stories to tell of disrespect between races and cultures. And stories of school principals who lead by divisive example. These have in fact been reported in the media, like the principals who said non-Malay students werepenumpang (passengers) in this country, or told them to go back to China and India, or insulted the religion of Hindu students.

To eschew exclusiveness, religious rituals (of any religion) should no longer be performed at school assemblies or any school functions. In fact, even for public sector functions, they should also be stopped. This will also diminish the role of religion in providing one of the biggest stumbling blocks to national unity.

Let's go back to basics. Najib should first of all unequivocally declare Malaysia a secular state, with Islam being the religion of the Federation, as spelt out in the Federal Constitution. Past prime ministers Tunku Abdul Rahman and Hussein Onn have stated that this is so. And it's clearly a better option for a multi-racial, multi-religious country.

On the issue of race, the Government must put a stop to all efforts and programmes aimed at fuelling suspicion or hatred of any race.

One, shut down Biro Tata Negara, which has allegedly been using methods almost akin to the ones used by the Nazis in fostering the Master Race.

Two, direct all media organisations (like Utusan Malaysia) to cease race-baiting.

Three, officially direct ministers and public officials to refrain from making racist remarks in public. And also to stop using the bogey of May 13 to scare the people. Like Wanita Umno President Shahrizat Abdul Jalil did at the party's general assembly in 2012.

To eliminate racial polarisation, the Government should shut down all fully residential schools and MARA institutions of learning that have 99% Malay students and only a few token non-Malays.

Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) should be open to all races. What its vice-chancellor, Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar, said two months ago in insisting that it remain the institution of higher learning for Malays and Bumiputeras is a bane to national unity.

In fact, the Government should take the radical step and institute a single school system – without the vernacular and religious streams. Like in Singapore. It will incur the wrath of many interest groups, but if you are serious about national unity, you have to take the bull by its horns.

Finally, the Government should declare a policy that favours merit over consideration of race in all fields of public service, e.g. the civil service, security forces, judiciary, universities and schools. This way, the country can also be assured of higher quality administration.

At present, how many non-Malays are heads of department in the civil service? How many are school principals? How many are vice-chancellors of public universities? If non-Malays who are qualified for these positions are denied them for reasons of race, how does that help national unity?

I hope that's enough for the NUCC to chew on. And that the ideas are not too radical for them to dare to consider or even acknowledge.

The bottom line is, national unity is something that's abstract. We may not even know it when we've achieved it. We have this romantic notion that we had a semblance of it perhaps in the 1960s, when crucial social conditions were different. So the important consideration now is to put in place the social conditions that would be appropriate for unity. Unfortunately, however, different people will have different ideas about what these conditions should be, and that's where the problem arises.

So, will 30 people of varying backgrounds, with varying values, beliefs and assumptions be able to solve in six months the problems we are facing in a society that has become more divided than ever before?

What do you think?

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.

READ MORE HERE

 

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.

READ MORE HERE

 

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