- Government, eight others stand in way of ‘Allah’ appeal
- Prominent PJ councillor dropped
- At Umno assembly, calls for ‘1 Melayu’ to replace ‘1 Malaysia’
- ‘Penang’s RM200m profits from selling govt lands’
- ‘Talks with PAS can start after Umno AGM’
- ‘Where’s the CAT in Penang govt?’
- RoS confirms Lee Guan Aik as Kedah DAP chief
- Former envoy says Mat Zain’s claims on Batu Puteh “a load of rubbish”
- Pakatan got it wrong, BN won more popular votes, says Najib
- Candi controversy: Heritage body hits out at developer
- Puncak Niaga, KPSB accept Selangor offer
- Khairy wants Umno Youth to embrace new brand of progressive politics
- Face to Face with Ibrahim Ali: RM1m is spent to be Umno division chief
- Parliament panel proposes to raise MPs’ salaries, allowances
Posted: 04 Dec 2013 08:38 PM PST
(MMO) - The Home Ministry and eight others are seeking to block the Catholic Church's application to contest an appellate court ruling in October that barred it from using the word "Allah" in its weekly paper the Herald.
S. Selvarajah, the Catholic Church's lawyer, confirmed this while saying that the Federal Court will hear arguments from both sides on February 24 before deciding if the appeal can proceed.
"The case is now fixed for hearing of application or of leave on February 24," he told The Malay Mail Online today.
"It will be opposed by all nine respondents," he said of the Catholic Church's application, referring to the Home Ministry, the government, the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association and the Islamic councils of six states.
According to Selvarajah, the Federal Court gave the respondents two weeks to file their affidavits of opposition and fixed February 10 as the deadline for submissions.
He also confirmed that Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) — the country's leading authority on the Malay language — has indicated that it intends to apply to be an intervener or to be a party to the court proceedings.
"I don't think they will be able to intervene at this late stage," Selvarajah said, saying that DBP was not represented by any lawyers today but had expressed its intention through one of the lawyers representing the state councils.
Although he expressed doubt on the likelihood of DBP's success in applying to be an intervener, Selvarajah said they would respond after the application is filed.
The case had come up for case management before the Federal Court's deputy registrar Nor Aziati Jaafar today, following the Catholic Church's application on November 11 for leave to appeal against a Court of Appeal ruling.
In the Federal Court filing on November 11, the Catholic Church submitted a list of 26 questions — which revolved around the Federal Constitution, administrative law and the general conduct of the courts in deciding on the dispute — as debate on the word "Allah" continues five years after the Home Ministry's ban on the Arabic word in the Herald's Bahasa Malaysia section.
Among the key questions the Catholic Church asked was whether the home minister has absolute discretion to impose such a prohibition, as well as whether claims of potential threats to public order and national security are sufficient grounds to impose restrictions without being subject to a legal challenge.
On the constitutionality of the decision, the Church is asking the apex court whether the government can impose restrictions on the choice of words used in religious books, materials or publications on the grounds that "some persons of another religious group may be confused".
The Church is seeking an answer as to whether the government's argument of a potential confusion provides a strong enough reason to deny another religious group its constitutional rights as enshrined under the Federal Constitution.
Posted: 04 Dec 2013 07:19 PM PST
(From right) Fernandez, Khairul Anuar, Chan, Cynthia and Anthony who are a pain to the state leaders expected to be dropped from MBPJ tomorrow.
Terence Fernandez, fz.com
Prominent local councillor Derek Fernandez is expected to be dropped from the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), when the new board of councillors is announced tomorrow.
Sources said Fernandez, a vocal advocate of good governance and an expert on local government and planning laws will be making way as part of a new state policy to limit the term of councillors to two terms.
Fernandez, when contacted confirmed that he had not received any reappointment letter but declined to comment on his exit from MPBJ, which he has served since Pakatan Rakyat took over the administration of Selangor in 2008.
Fernandez however is not alone. It is believed that another "noisy" councillor Cynthia Gabriel has also been given the boot, along with sole OKU (special needs persons) representative Anthony Thanasayan.
Other councillors said to be dropped are Khairul Anuar Ahmad Zainudin and Chan Chee Keong.
The new policy, while praised so as to allow deadwood to be removed has also been criticised as a tool to remove councillors who are a pain to state leaders.
MBPJ, for instance is notorious for "blocking" development orders and applications that do not follow the law, causing much grief to politicians who want to reward supporters and donors for helping them win their state or parliamentary seats.
Fernandez, for instance was responsible in helping to draft the state's new billboard policy which basically threw sand into the rice bowls of politicians, civil servants and businessmen who were reaping the benefits of a highly corrupt system that relied on kickbacks and led to indiscriminate mushrooming of billboards.
Due to his legal background, he was also the bell-weather of the council's legal affairs and was among those who raised the alarm when a senior council staff illegally entered a consent order on behalf of the council, with a billboard company. (LINK http://www.fz.com/content/billboard-firm-takes-contempt-action-against-m...)
It is understood that Mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad who had rated Fernandez the highest among all the 24 councillors is upset at losing some of the full board members.
"But it is a state policy and political matter, so she has no say," said a state source.
However the source tells fz.com that those dropped seem to only affect PKR representatives.
There seems to be some truth to this, as all those said to be removed from MBPJ are PKR appointees representing NGOs and professionals.
"Change is good but if good councillors are replaced with clowns and 'Yes' men, then we know why," said the source.
Posted: 04 Dec 2013 06:46 PM PST
(MM) - Putrajaya should use "1 Melayu" in place of its all-inclusive "1 Malaysia" slogan since efforts to reach out to Chinese voters were snubbed in Election 2013, a Penang Umno delegate told the 64th Umno annual general assembly today.
Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir also accused the Chinese community of "betraying" the government, saying they were not appreciative despite the amount of money used to woo them in the run-up to the 13th general election.
Posted: 04 Dec 2013 06:42 PM PST
But the Penang CM hits back at Chua Tee Yong by saying that the previous BN administration sold more land in the state.
Anisah Shukry, FMT
MCA has hit out at the Penang government for resorting to selling land to amass hundreds of millions of ringgit last year, saying that it was a short-term solution that came at the expense of the state's citizens.
MCA Young Professionals Bureau Chairman Chua Tee Yong said the move not only created unsustainable income for the government, but had also deprived Penangites of affordable homes.
"In long term, the state government will be richer but the people will be poorer. This is because state government earns their income from selling land but the people [grow] poorer as they need to pay a higher price for home ownership," said Chua in a statement today.
He said developers would raise housing prices to cushion the hefty sum they paid for the government land, and this would ultimately force home-seekers in Penang to shoulder the extra cost.
"The trading of land in Penang is definitely causing land prices in Penang to increase. Hence, housing prices in Penang will fly as well. This will only harm the rights of Penangites, as they need to bear the hike in prices for land and house," said Chua, who is Labis MP.
He pointed out that rather than selling off the land, the government could have developed it and reaped the profit from the ensuing commercial activities.
"The most important (thing) is the government still possesses the land title and they could allocate the land to build more affordable homes for the rakyat."
He said the third quarter of the Auditor-General Report 2012 revealed the state government had earned RM51.09 million more than what it had earned in 2011. RM200 million of its profits came from selling government land, said Chua.
"A government that relies on selling land to earn profit is a government that does not know how to draft a plan for long term economic growth, nor knows how to upgrade economic growth or enhance the income liquidity of the rakyat.
"DAP always (says) they that they are performing better [than] BN. Is that the best they can do?" he asked.
Posted: 04 Dec 2013 06:39 PM PST
Umno had never rejected any effort to help unite the Malays, says Muhyiddin Yassin, referring to calls for muzakarah between Umno and PAS.
Lisa J. Ariffin, FMT
Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin welcomed a muzakarah between the party and PAS to strengthen ties and reduce misunderstanding with the opposition party.
"Umno has never rejected any initiative or effort to help unite the Malays or Muslims and the people of Malaysia because unity has always been our vision," Muhyiddin told a press conference here today.
"We place great emphasis on unity and we will always welcome an initiative to strengthen ties such as a muzakarah to find a common ground or reduce misunderstanding," he added.
Muhyiddin said Umno had never rejected unity initiatives as "our intention is good and sincere".
"If there is any party that shows interest, we will always be open and welcome their good efforts," he said.
Muhyiddin then said prior arrangement was needed as the suggestion for a muzakarah was from PAS president Hadi Awang during the 59th PAS annual general meeting last month.
"A lot of people have asked us what we mean by discussion. What is the scope, when, and who will be attending the meetings?," he said.
"That will be set in detail later including the issues to be discussed," he said.
"If it can be arranged, then I am of opinion that a discussion after the Umno AGM will be appropriate."
Posted: 04 Dec 2013 06:36 PM PST
An article in RPK's Malaysia Today alleges that the Penang government has awarded a flood mitigation project to a company via direct negotiations, breaching its policy of Competency, Accountability and Transparency.
P Ramani, FMT
The Penang state government has been accused of abusing its own tender process in awarding a contract worth almost RM7 million to build a flood retention wall in Bukit Mertajam.
The state government which advocates Competency, Accountability and Transparency (CAT), is accused of awarding the project, which include renovating the drainage system in Jalan Kampung Baru, in a guided and open tender process.
In an article posted in blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin's Malaysia Today portal, it is claimed that in the open tender process introduced by the state government, an in-house consultant will be appointed before the tender is implemented.
Malaysia Today also posted documents pertaining to the contract, saying there was a Selangor-based company which initially tendered for the project but was rejected on two grounds.
The first was that the company came under category G4, which disallowed the company from working on a project worth more than RM3 million. Second reason was that the company was not a local Penang-based firm.
On that note, another company tendered for the project. The tender amount offered by the firm stood at RM6,913, 896, which is RM33,223 lower than the price tag given by the state authorities.
The company came under category G6, which allowed it to work on projects worth not more than RM10 million. However, the article claimed that the second company received the project via direct negotiations.
Posted: 04 Dec 2013 01:10 PM PST
(The Star) - The Registrar of Societies has confirmed Lee Guan Aik (pic) as Kedah DAP chairman.Lee, the former Kota Darulaman assemblyman, told a press conference Thursday that the RoS, in a letter dated Dec 4, stated that the party's central executive committee (CEC) had no right to appoint Zairil Khir Johari as state DAP interim chairman since the RoS had yet to recognise the CEC formed in September.
Lee urged all state DAP members not to abide by the directive made by the state interim committee following the RoS' decision.
Posted: 04 Dec 2013 11:53 AM PST
(TMI) - A former Malaysian diplomat has rejected a suggestion that Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail deliberately lost the case over the ownership of Pulau Batu Puteh to Singapore at the International Court of Justice in 2008, reported The Star today.
Former Malaysian ambassador to the Netherlands Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin dismissed the claim by former Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigations Department chief Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim, one of many allegations contained in a Statutory Declaration (SD) he issued earlier this year.
"The contents of the SD are a load of rubbish by someone who obviously has not read the judgment nor understood it," said Noor Farida, as quoted by the daily.
Contents of the 31-page SD has been widely reported by news portals and discussed by politicians.
Yesterday, five opposition MPs lodged separate police reports to call for an investigation of the claims.
Mat Zain among others alleged that hundreds of millions of ringgit had changed hands and were deposited into a Hong Kong bank account over Pulau Batu Puteh. He said Gani submitted a wrong photograph of the island's location during the ICJ trial.
But Noor Farida argued that the decision of the ICJ, which awarded Singapore the disputed island, was not a loss for Malaysia since it gained Middle Rocks, a pair of uninhabited small rocks located south of Pulau Batu Puteh.
"The decision did not revolve around the photograph," she said, referring to Mat Zain's claim that the wrong photograph caused Malaysia to lose the case.
"I am puzzled by the allegations of bribery, which are nonsensical and totally without foundation."
Posted: 04 Dec 2013 11:45 AM PST
(TMI) - Umno has refuted Pakatan Rakyat's vaunted claim that it won the popular vote in the 13th general election, saying that the Barisan Nasional (BN) won the popular vote in nine states compared to Pakatan's four.
Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak also said that Umno as a party won more popular votes than any of Pakatan's three parties.
His statement comes after Umno has been smothered by claims from Pakatan: that Pakatan won 51% of the popular vote despite not forming the Federal Government; and that BN was a minority government as it won only 47% of the popular vote in the May polls.
Najib, who is also Prime Minister, said this in his policy speech at the opening of the Umno general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur today.
Posted: 04 Dec 2013 11:25 AM PST
(The Star) - The Malaysian Heritage Trust (Badan Warisan) has hit out at the developer who allegedly destroyed the eighth-century candi in Bujang Valley, saying he should rebuild it if he has "any guilty conscience".
Its president Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid said for the developer to plead ignorance was "no plea at all".
"I'm very disappointed. It's surprising that the developer could claim he didn't know of its existence," he said.
"He should pay to restore it if he has any guilty conscience," Ahmad Sarji said in an interview after launching the book Chronicle of Malaysia 1963-2013 here yesterday.
Ahmad Sarji, who is Permodalan Nasional Bhd chairman, commended the Kedah government for issuing a stop work order and urged the relevant authorities to quickly declare the area a protected heritage site.
"Regulatory bodies must look into this issue and enforce the National Heritage Act," he said.
Ahmad Sarji expressed regret that the destruction had took place despite the work carried out to restore the area previously.
The candi in Bujang Valley was allegedly unknowingly destroyed by a housing developer during land clearing.
Saw Guan Keat, the Bandar Saujana Sdn Bhd project manager, said he would have left the site alone if he had known.
The idea of rebuilding the site has been criticised by some, however.
"You can't rebuild something so historical. It just makes no sense at all. It's not as simple as that. You can't undo the destruction of a historical site," said a reader of The Star, who is from Kuala Lumpur and wished to remain anonymous.
Posted: 04 Dec 2013 11:12 AM PST
The concessionaires has agreed to accept the RM9.65 billion general offer made by the state government's investment firm, Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd.
by Farah Adilla, FMT
Selangor's water sector restructuring looks set to materialise in the near future after concession holders Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd and Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor Bhd (KPSB) agreed to accept with conditions the RM9.65 billion general offers made by the state government via its investment arm, Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd (KDEB).
The third party Gamuda Bhd, however, objected to the offer but said it is still willing to hold further discussions with KDEB on the terms of the deal.
In an exchange filing yesterday, the Rozali Ismail-led Puncak Niaga group said it has sent a letter of acceptance to KDEB and is hopeful that the latter will favourably agree to the former's terms and conditions for the conclusion of the deal.
"Puncak Niaga is hopeful that KDEB will favourably agree to the terms and conditions so the consolidation of the Selangor water industry, envisaged by the federal government and the Selangor state government, which is supported by water players such as Puncak Niaga group, will materialise in the near future," it said.
Among the conditions listed in Puncak Niaga's letter to KDEB is a demand for payment of total equity contribution to Puncak Niaga to include a compounded return of 15% per annum taken as compensation for the company's loss of future earnings as a result of the sale of its water concession business to the state government before the date of expiry of the respective concessions.
Puncak Niaga also demands the payment of debts due and outstanding from Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) to Puncak Niaga (M) Sdn Bhd (PNSB) in relation to the supply and sale of water to Syabas as the services had already been rendered.
The company said after a detailed analysis of the offers that it has ascertained that the actual total payable to all water concession holders is far below the RM9.65 billion announced earlier by the state government.
"For instance, in the case of Puncak Niaga, the amount offered to the company for its equity stakes in PNSB and Syabas is only RM1.56 billion and not RM5.59 billion as informed by the Selangor state government.
"We are of the view that the manner in which the offers were presented to the public by the Selangor state government is misleading and detrimental to all shareholders of Puncak Niaga," it said in the filing.
In its letter of acceptance in principle of the offers, Puncak Niaga has requested KDEB to revert within seven days. Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd (PAAB) has only verbally agreed in principle in various official meetings involving the federal government and the Selangor state government on the takeover of the water assets of PNSB and Syabas at RM4.04 billion, the exchange filing said.
Meanwhile, KPSB has accepted the offers in-principle to acquire its entire equity holding of 30% in Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (Splash), which is held via its wholly owned subsidiary Viable Chip (M) Sdn Bhd, and the offer to purchase its 90.83% equity interest in Titisan Modal (M) Sdn Bhd (TMSB), which controls concessionaire Konsortium Abass Sdn Bhd.
The acceptance is conditional upon PAAB acquiring the water assets of Splash at its book value and that any surplus of the book value of the water assets over the liabilities of Splash to be assumed by PAAB shall be payable to Splash.
The amount of receivables due from Syabas and PAAB respectively to Splash and Konsortium Abass shall be verified by an independent auditor and the amount owing by KDEB to KPSB must be fully settled by KDEB.
In respect of the due diligence inquiry that KDEB intends to carry out on TMSB and Abass, the determination of whether the results of such due diligence are satisfactory shall not be a unilateral decision on the part of KDEB, but such determination shall be based on criteria as shall be mutually agreed between KDEB and KPSB.
Posted: 04 Dec 2013 09:52 AM PST
(The Star) - Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin rallied the wing to embrace a new brand of "progressive" politics that emphasises greater inclusiveness by reaching out to all Malaysians.
He said Umno Youth must preserve its core struggle to protect the interests of Islam, Malays and the country besides reaching out to others who did not support Barisan Nasional, regardless of race and religion.
He said that defending the movement's core struggles while reaching out to other Malaysians were not mutually exclusive goals.
"Our new brand of politics does not mean that we have disregarded our principles. We have to be brave enough to change our approach and methods of engagement without forgetting the original purpose of our struggle," he said.
Since taking over as the movement's chief in 2009, Khairy has championed the new "progressive" approach by getting Umno Youth to organise programmes that offer practical solutions to the bread-and-butter concerns of Malaysian youths.
"We embraced this platform of progressiveness as it is futile to rally behind 'Hidup Melayu' if we cannot advance our community.
"It is without question that the results and the effectiveness of our programmes are more important than sloganeering for the sake of it," he said.
Khairy said Umno Youth's outreach programmes benefited all, but did not sideline the bumiputra community which is its core audience.
Citing examples, he said a majority of the 160,000 who got jobs through the movement's job fairs and some 500,000 who will benefit from the Bantuan Lesen 1Malaysia (BL1M), were Malays.
On another matter, Khairy took to task non-Bumiputra companies that discriminated against bumiputras by way of wages and the opportunities to be promoted to the top ranks.
He also blasted the Selangor government over its pay rise for key officials, saying State Legislative Assembly Speaker Hannah Yeoh now earned about RM9,000 daily when the assembly sat.
He said that while the state government led by Pakatan Rakyat had once extolled the virtues of having the most fiscally prudent and moral state administration, they were now acting to the contrary.
Posted: 04 Dec 2013 09:23 AM PST
Posted: 04 Dec 2013 09:16 AM PST
The Dewan Rakyat's House Committee had a meeting this week to decide on increasing the salary of members of parliament.
(TMI) - Salaries and meeting allowances of Malaysian federal lawmakers are expected to more than double to at least RM16,000 and RM500 respectively under a proposal to be tabled today, weeks after pay hikes in several states caused a stir among some political parties last week.
A member of parliament (MP) now earns a basic salary of RM6,508.59 and a meeting allowance of RM200 per day. There are other allowances that total to about RM5,000 a month, according to the Members of Parliament (Remuneration) Act.
An MP, who asked not to be named, said the Dewan Rakyat's House Committee met this week to decide on the new salaries and allowances, following pay hikes for assemblymen in Sarawak, Selangor and Penang.
"An MP's pay is to go up to RM16,000 which is a Jusa A or divisional secretary's salary. That, plus allowances, will could push our pay up to RM35,000 a month," the veteran lawmaker told The Malaysian Insider.
Another source said the House Committee, headed by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, has reached an agreement on the new salaries and allowances. There are six other members in the committee, including two opposition lawmakers.
The salaries of MPs and elected government representatives are governed by the Members of Parliament (Remuneration) Act.
This includes the salaries of the prime ,inister (RM 22,826.65), deputy prime minister (RM18,168.15), minister (RM14,907.20), member of senate (RM4,112.79), MPs (RM6,508.59) and the leader of the opposition (additional RM3,846.59).
MPs are also given allowable claims under the Statute Paper 235 of the act, including entertainment (RM1,500), driver (RM1,200), travel (RM1,500), telephone (RM900) and a daily allowance of RM200, apart from meetings by government agencies which are set at RM150 a day.
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