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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Khairy wants Umno-PAS muzakarah

Posted: 03 Dec 2013 08:32 PM PST


Lisa J. Ariffin, FMT 

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said a muzakarah between Umno and PAS is important to discuss a lot of issues concerning Muslims but will leave it the party leadership to decide.

Khairy said Umno Youth wanted to see this muzakarah happen but it was up to the party leaders to take the lead.

"I don't want Pemuda to start this muzakarah. We need a holistic approach," he said.

Khairy said the decision to discuss implementing an administration based on Islam with PAS rested with the Umno leadership.

"Muzakarah is important because there are a lot of worries among Muslims now and we need the cooperation of PAS.

"If there is no cooperation, then the important issues as raised by the deputy president (Muhyiddin Yassin) yesterday cannot be fulfilled," he told reporters after his opening speech to Umno Youth at the PWTC earlier today.

Khairy said being progressive did not mean Umno Youth must leave behind the fight for race, religion and country.

"All that is raised by the deputy president is part of Pemuda.

"However, we must go beyond that. Those are our basic principles and more than that we must be seen to be relevant and contemporary to the new generation today," he said.

Khairy also hinted that his current term as Umno Youth chief might be his last but added that it was too early to name a successor.

He said the spirit among the youth was strong judging from the response to his speech.

"I believe this is proof that the youth leadership can perform their duties well.

"I want to leave an accreditation programme so that future leaders will have contemporary and progressive political education and exposure.

"If I leave with no clear direction, there will be no same leadership pattern. If I leave accreditation, whoever comes after me will hold on to the same approach and vision," he added.

Worsening floods spread to Kelantan

Posted: 03 Dec 2013 08:29 PM PST


(MMO) - Kelantan today became the fourth state to be struck by the annual monsoon floods which have already hit Johor, Pahang and Terengganu.

As of 4pm, 436 people had been evacuated in Kelantan, bringing the number of people moved out of their homes in all the four states to 33,365. A total of 8,250 people had been evacuated in Johor, 19,750 in Pahang and 4,929 in Terengganu.

Pahang seems to be the worst affected of the four states. More than 1,000 sub-stations of Tenaga Nasional Berhad in several districts were flooded, forcing the electricity company to disconnect power supply to 62,907 consumers for 12 hours up to this afternoon. Power supply has been restored in stages to the affected areas.

 The state capital, Kuantan, was almost paralysed after power and water supply was cut off in most areas. Shops and offices had to close.

TNB also disconnected power supply in Kemaman, Terengganu, to about 5,000 consumers after 141 sub-stations were flooded as of 2pm. The power outage resulted in stalled pumps of Syarikat Air Terengganu, leaving about 7,500 consumers in several districts without water supply since early today.

The situation in the flood-hit states could only worsen as the weatherman has forecast more rain.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department today issued an orange-stage heavy rain warning for several areas in Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu, saying that the rain was expected to continue until tomorrow.

In Kelantan, the 436 evacuees are from Mengkebang and Olak Jeram. They are being housed at five relief centres.

They were forced out of their homes after the Sungai Kelantan and Sungai Lebir burst their banks. As at 4pm, the level of Sungai Kelantan at Tangga Krai was 25.28 metres, above the danger point of 25 metres, and at the Guillemard Bridge, 16.30 metres (16 metres).

The level of Sungai Lebir at Tualang was 35.56 metres, above the danger point of 35 metres.

The level of the other rivers in Kelantan are reportedly rising as rain continues to fall in many of the interior areas. 

No major roads have been closed and neither were there reports of casualties.

In Pahang, the evacuees were being sheltered at 73 relief centres in five districts, namely Kuantan (12,007 at 46 centres), Rompin (3,982 at 10 centres), Pekan (2,750 at nine centres), Maran (1,005 at seven centres) and the rest at one centre in Jerantut.

Reporters encountered difficulty operating as most of them are based in Kuantan which has been almost paralysed by power outage and disruption of water supply.

The authorities have advised people in other low-lying areas to be prepared to evacuate as rain has been forecast until tomorrow.

Several roads remain closed as stretches have been flooded, even more than one metre deep at some places. 

These include parts of Jalan Sungai Lembing/Sg Charu-Kuantan; Jalan Gambang-Maran at Bukit Gambang Resort; Batu 3, Jalan Kuantan-Gambang near the Giant Hypermarket; the junction of Bukit Rangin and Jalan Cherating-Kemaman near Chendor.

In Johor, the number of evacuees had risen to 8,250 this evening from 7,106 in the morning.

The portal of the National Security Council reported that Mersing had 5,694 people at relief centres, Segamat (1,081), Kluang (975), Kota Tinggi (212), Muar (217) and Batu Pahat (71).

The latest to be hit by the floods are Sungai Suloh and Seri Merlong near Batu Pahat as well as Kampung Orang Asli Sedohok, Kampung Orang Asli Air Pasir, Kampung Orang Asli Kuala Sengka, Kampung Orang Asli Pucur, Ladang Zamrud and Kampung Kolam Air near Kluang.

The stretch at Batu 18 of Jalan Sungai Ara-Kota Tinggi is impassable to all vehicles while Km16 of Jalan Kota Tinggi-Mersing has been reduced to a single lane due to a landslide near the Industrial Training Institute there. 

Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin advised people in the state to look after the safety of themselves and their families.

He said in his Facebook account that they should cooperate with the authorities engaged in evacuating people to relief centres.

In Terengganu, 1,443 more people have been evacuated in the three affected districts of Kemaman, Dungun and Hulu Terengganu, raising the number of evacuees in the state to 4,929.

Thirty-six relief centres have been opened in Kemaman, five in Dungun and 17 in Hulu Terengganu.

Meanwhile, the Terengganu Drainage and Irrigation Department reported that the levels of several major rivers in the state were at the danger point.

The level of Sungai Kemaman at the Banho Bridge was 20.08 metres (danger level 19 metres); Air Putih Bridge, 15.27 metres (14 metres) and Tebak Bridge, 19.37 metres (19 metres).

The level of Sungai Dungun at Kuala Jengai was 26.12 metres (21 metres); Jerangau Bridge, 13.39 metres (12.5 metres) while the level of Sungai Menerong in Hulu Terengganu was 25.1 metres (24.5 metres).

Soi Lek quits politics

Posted: 03 Dec 2013 08:27 PM PST


Anisah Shukry, FMT 

MCA President Dr Chua Soi Lek announced today he would not defend his position in the party polls this Dec 21, saying it was time for him to retire from politics.

He said many supporters had urged him to go back on his May 6 pledge that he would not contest, telling him a four-corner fight would give him an advantage.

"But I don't want to go down in the history of MCA as a leader with no integrity; when I say I am not defending my position, I mean it," the veteran politician said at a press conference at the party headquarters here.

He said if he were to stand and win it would be an "empty victory" because he would have backtracked on a promise after his chances had increased.

The MCA leaders gunning for the top position are deputy president Liow Tiong Lai,  former president Ong Tee Keat and vice president Gan Ping Sieu.

Chua had vowed to not defend his presidency immediately after last May's general election, which saw MCA suffer the worst defeat in its history, winning only seven federal and 11 state seats.

But speculation was rife that Chua would renege on his pledge. It was fueled further when he censured his deputy at an annual general meeting in October and gave elusive answers to questions from the media.

But Chua clarified today that the "hard work" he had done in the party since the general election was meant to convince his comrades there was still hope in MCA, not for his own political gain.

He urged his supporters not to "grudge" him his retirement, saying he believed he had earned it.

"Of course, there are people who think that I will not give up easily; hence I will seek re-election. Once again I would like to emphasise that I am not giving up, but giving way to new blood.

"After my retirement, I will continue to play whatever role I can to contribute to the transformation of MCA and to strengthen the Barisan Nasional."

Money politics

He said that the MCA leadership needed to give room for the younger generation, but he did not endorse any candidate in the party election.

Chua also urged party veterans to not use the polls as a means to settle old scores and warned businessmen to stay away from the proceedings.

"Every time businessmen come in, money is involved," he said. "MCA must stand firm and reject money politics in party elections. If we are involved in money, it will only serve to devalue the position of the MCA party president and other posts."

He urged party members, including the leaders, to practise the "politics of transforming MCA" and to close ranks once the polls were over.

Chua was optimistic that the tide of voter sentiment would turn towards MCA in the next general election.

Umno Youth to champion 10 proposals

Posted: 03 Dec 2013 04:34 PM PST

(Bernama) - Umno Youth wants the government to check on what is perceived to be a discrimination against Bumiputera workers by non-Bumiputera companies so that the private sector would have more Bumiputera professionals.

This is among the 10 proposals to resolve several issues involving the people raised by Umno Youth head Khairy Jamaluddin when delivering his policy speech at the Umno Youth General Assembly 2013, here today. 

"We accept that some may say in the recruitment of workers, the Bumiputera are given priority in the public sector. But in terms of senior management, more secretaries-general of the ministries are appointed from among the non-Bumiputera.

"Unfortunately until today, it is still difficult to see any Malay being appointed chief executive officers in companies owned by the other ethnic groups," he said.

Issues relating to small and medium contractors, the farming community and the welfare system also drew the attention of the Umno Youth head. 

He suggested that the government diversified small-scale projects through the initiatives of the Bumiputera Empowerment Unit while at the same time finding ways to widen opportunities for credible small and medium contractors.

Khairy also suggested that the government reviewed the approach adopted by companies supervised by the government in purchasing building materials such as cement, stones, sand and steel.

As such, Umno Youth urged the government to speed up the formation of an entity that could buy building materials in bulk and selling them to small and medium contractors at a reasonable price, he said.

Khairy, who is also the Youth and Sports Minister, suggested that the number of skilled trainees taken by the training institutes be increased too as the number of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) holders each year touched almost 500,000 besides calling for emphasis to be given to the vocational and skills training.

In his speech, Khairy suggested that farmers, fishermen and the breeders themselves could control the value chain for agricultural products with assistance from the relevant government agencies.

"The AP (approval permit) system for agricultural products should be implemented in a transparent and open manner to avoid the formation of a monopoly or cartel that will only benefit a certain group.

"Through these detailed measures, Umno Youth is certain that the people will derive benefits in terms of the more reasonable market price created," he said.

Meanwhile, Umno Youth also urged the government to review the existing welfare system including increasing the monthly allocation, so that they truly helped the needy groups.

On the issue of higher tariff, the Youth movement wanted Tenaga Nasional Berhad and government-linked companies (GLCs) not to be obsessed with financial performance alone to the extent that they neglected their responsibility to the people, he said.

Touching on the Auditor-General's Report, Khairy said Umno Youth took a serious view of the matter and called for stern action to be taken against those proven guilty of any wrongdoing.

In his proposals, Khairy also suggested that the government increased the allocation for the Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government as well as Kuala Lumpur City Hall to build affordable homes for the younger generation.

It was also suggested that a special quota of 20 or 30 per cent be created for the younger group in every Youth Representative Committee so that their requirements could be taken into consideration by the government in line with the formation of the JPP in 140 local authorities in the country soon.

On the report of spying on Malaysia recently, he said Umno Youth strongly criticised the foreign countries which were reported to have spied on the country and urged the authorities to investigate the matter.

Refer Islam to only Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah – UMNO Youth

Posted: 03 Dec 2013 04:29 PM PST

(TMT) - Umno Youth has proposed that the definition of Islam as the official religion of the country to be fine-tuned and referred to only the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah sect, said its vice-chief, Khairul Azwan Harun.

He said this was to curb the spread of deviant teachings such as Syiah that could destroy the country, particularly the younger generation who were susceptible to such teachings.

"This should not be taken lightly as deviant teachings could threaten national security and Umno Youth demand decisive action to be taken to thwart them," he said when presenting a motion of thanks on the Umno Youth chief's policy speech at the movement's general assembly here today.

Hence, Khairul Azwan said Higher Education Bureau chairman Fathulbari Mat Jahya would table the motion at the Umno General Assembly tomorrow.

He said the movement should continue to take a progressive approach by playing the role of a trouble-shooter to every problem faced by the people, apart from becoming a pressure group in the interest of the people.

"Umno Youth also have to assist the people and fight for the their well-being. The progressive approach will not set us adrift from the foundation of Islamic struggle and will not turn us into a group subscribing pluralism and liberalism," he said.

Khairul Azwan said the movement would also propose that the government appoint a dedicated minister to ensure that the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment programme would be implemented effectively, reported Bernama.

"We want ministers who have intense passion, knowledge and the Malay spirit to ensure that Bumiputera will benefit from the agenda, apart having key performance indicators in Bumiputera economic empowerment while the audit report should be presented to Umno members and the people," he said.

Urging Umno Youth members not to be lulled by the 13th general election victory, he said it was time that young leaders in Umno work hard to restore the people's confidence.

"More and more young leaders of quality and calibre must be nurtured to fight for the people while training at the grassroots level should be intensified to create a new generation of Umno leaders who can serve the people," he said.


Umno MP defends ROS against DAP attacks

Posted: 03 Dec 2013 01:48 PM PST

(Bernama) - Claims by DAP members of parliament that the Registrar of Societies (ROS) was being used by the government to monitor or deregister political parties which oppose Umno is a rude accusation, said Barisan Nasional MP for Tanjung Karang Noh Omar.

He said allegations such as 'Umno dog' and an intimidation suit against ROS was made without taking into account the organisation's role in ensuring democracy, rights of political parties and the proper functioning of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

"I see speeches and statements of DAP leaders, and I want to bring up this matter because I find the condemnations were made solely due to the actions taken by ROS against DAP.

"So, I want to ask the minister or ROS if they can tell us the status regarding the selection of the new DAP Central Executive Committee (CEC) held on Sept 29," he said when debating the Supply Bill 2014 for the Ministry of Home Affairs in Parliament here, last night.

Before this, DAP publicity chief Tony Pua, who is also MP for Petaling Jaya Utara, Liew Chin Tong (Kluang) and Karpal Singh (Bukit Gelugor) slammed the ROS for its action against DAP, calling the organisation 'Umno's dog' which was being used by the government and Umno.

They also threatened to sue the organisation (ROS) if it continued with its actions.


Halim Saad's ex-aide in NFC takeover

Posted: 03 Dec 2013 08:38 AM PST

Cynthia Blemin and Terence Fernandez, fz.com

Businessman Datuk Anuar Othman is making a comeback to the corporate world in the potential takeover the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) Sdn Bhd's cattle farming project.

Anuar, the right-hand man of corporate kingpin, Tan Sri Halim Saad (picture), back in the 90's is said to have vested interest in the takeover via an investment-linked company, VC Mahawangsa Sdn Bhd.
A source close to the deal said Anuar who holds the position as the executive chairman of VC Mahawangsa, has offered to takeover NFCorp's assets and liabilities.
It is not known if this news confirms that Anuar and Halim have kissed and made up following their acrimonious parting of ways. 
However, according to sources, Halim Saad was present in at least one meeting with senior NFC officials.
"The beef business is a RM2 billion a year industry and annual profits are RM400 million.
"So even if NFC gets 10%, you are talking about RM40 million," said an industry source.
The business could have taken off if the government had fulfilled its obligations of the agreement by building the abattoirs as it was supposed to, the source added.  
A press conference to announce the sale of shares between NFCorp and VC Mahawangsa was scheduled to take place at Doubletree by Hilton here yesterday. However, the event was called off by organisers.
"The press conference was called off because the deal has yet to be properly finalised. 
"There are still issues that need to be trashed out and once those concerns are addressed, a proper announcement would be made.
"One party was probably too eager to make the announcement … which is premature at this point," the source added.
NFCorp, the company that runs the controversial National Feedlot Centre (NFC) is owned and operated by Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil's family.
On March 12, last year, Shahrizat's husband Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail, in his capacity as the director of NFCorp was charged with CBT amounting to RM9,758,140 to fund part purchase of two units of condominium in Kuala Lumpur and transferring RM40 million into the account of National Meat & Livestock Corporation Sdn Bhd in 2009.
Mohamad Salleh who is also NFCorp executive chairman, has maintained that not all the RM250 million soft loan from the government was utilised, and the company was in fact still servicing the loan.
He had argued that the purchases of high-end condominiums were investments to reap profits to service the loan.
Supporters of Salleh and his wife have blamed the failure of the Agriculture Ministry to build export quality abattoirs for NFC's inability to make the project a success.
The resurfacing of both Umno-linked businessmen Halim and Anuar in NFCorp, is a clear indication that Putrajaya's had given their nod in an attempt to make the company commercially viable.  
In October, this year, the Finance Ministry announced the potential takeover of NFCorp by Japanese company Kirimitonas Agro Sdn Bhd (KASB). But the deal fell through and ended due to failure to reach an agreement.
In 2006, both Halim and Anuar made headlines when Justice Sri Gopal Sri Ram, in his judgment, remarked that the duo from Metramac Corp Sdn Bhd, had enjoyed the patronage of former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin. Halim who was the executive chairman of Renong and in turn controls UEM Group, was  highly connected to former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad and Daim.
Halim also denied that he and his former business partner, Anuar had siphoned RM32.5 million from toll operator Metramac (formerly Syarikat Teratai KG Sdn Bhd or STKG). 
He also denied that they had patronage of Daim, who was said to have conspired with them to oppress a construction company.
It is interesting to note that when Umno was deregistered in 1998, all of its assets were vested in the Official Assignee. 
Following the de-registration of Umno, the Official Asignee not only took over Fleet Group, Umno's main investment arm, but also Hatibudi Sdn Bhd, which had acquired a significant stake in politically-linked United Engineers Malaysia (UEM) Bhd, which was then awarded the privatised North-South Highway project. 
The shareholders of Hatibudi were Halim and Anuar, who held the shareholdings in trust for Umno leaders.
But by early 1994, Anuar had already relinquished his interest in Renong and UEM, reportedly after a disagreement with Halim.

Archaeology expert: Still hope for razed Lembah Bujang temple

Posted: 03 Dec 2013 08:26 AM PST

(MM) - Armed with blueprints from historical texts and research papers, an archaeological expert believes it possible to rebuild the millennia-old temple in Lembah Bujang, Kedah that was torn down by a housing developer.

According to director of the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Centre for Global Archaeological Research (CGAR) Professor Dr Mokhtar Saidin, who leads a team that has excavated 46 sites in the area, there exists sufficient information to allow the prehistoric structure to be reconstructed, hopefully, where it once stood.

"We can reconstruct it again because I saw some of the publication before and there is a plan, so we can reconstruct again, the best is to construct on the original site," Mokhtar said, referring to plans of the ancient temple contained in published works.

The candi in question had been restored once in 1974. The archaeology expert said the restoration commissioned by the then-Museum Department had been minor as the candi was only "naturally disturbed", but it would require a complete reconstruction this time around.

"The developer should help because it's just a small area and I think Jabatan Warisan should too and if they want USM to help, no problem," he told The Malay Mail Online when contacted.

Yesterday, Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhiz Mahathir also spoke of the possibility to rebuilding the demolished candi number 11.

"The ruins can be reconstructed on its original site with the agreement of the company or near the Universiti Sains Malaysia excavation site at Sungai Batu," he was quoted as saying by national news agency Bernama last night.

The recent discovery of the demolition of the 1,200-year-old candi number 11 at Sungai Batu triggered national outrage over the callous treatment of the country's historical monuments.

A candi, short for candigarh, has been described as a place of worship with elements of either Hinduism or Buddhism; about 50 are peppered across the Kedah valley and believed to date back to between the 8th and 13th centuries.

Lembah Bujang is also thought to be the foundation for the rise of the Malay kingdom in Southeast Asia, and the region's foremost entrepot and trading centre in ancient times.

Earlier yesterday, Mukhriz said the state government has appealed to the Tourism and Culture Ministry to gazette over 100 archaeological sites as national heritage sites.

"The state places the utmost importance in preserving all heritage sites in Kedah so we are saddened over the recent destruction of candi number 11," he said.

However, Mokhtar said even if the historical sites are not gazetted as such, future development plans in the Merbok area should be referred to the local authorities and the National Heritage Department to prevent the destruction of other historical locations.

Recounting a previous visit in 2007 to what was then an oil palm estate, the professor said the candi had still been intact. He added that had the land status not been changed from agricultural to residential, the tragedy might not have taken place.

"Before this, as far as I know, all candis are in private land, usually in plantation area, the owners know the sites shouldn't be disturbed, but for site 11, they want to develop housing, so they bulldoze all the trees and everything there.

"It is very sad; it serves as a lesson for us ― for all of us ― to be responsible [and] to take care of such historical sites."

According to Mukhriz, the developer had obtained planning permission to develop the land back in 1993 but only started clearing works this August.

On Monday, the Lembah Bujang Archaeological Museum — the candi's former caretakers — said it informed National Heritage Department of the destruction in September.

It is unclear if the department did anything to stop the developer, as its director-general, Datin Paduka Prof Siti Zuraina Abdul Majid could not be reached as she is currently abroad for the month.

Lembah Bujang is the richest archaeological site in Malaysia and the home of the oldest man-made structure recorded in Southeast Asia — a clay brick monument nearly 1,900 years old.

Excavations on the site have also uncovered jetty remains, iron smelting sites and relics with Hindu and Buddhist influences that point towards a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom there as early as 110 CE. 


Candi 11 in Sungai Batu can be reconstructed, says Mukhriz

Posted: 03 Dec 2013 08:22 AM PST

(Bernama) - Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir today expressed the state government's disappointment over the destruction of the ancient candi or temple ruins in Sungai Batu, Bujang Valley, Merbok. 

"These Bujang Valley ruins should be preserved as national heritage sites.  They have not been used as places of worship for centuries," he said in a statement here.   

He said the company which owned the land had obtained the approval to develop it in 1993 but only started clearing the site this August and ended up destroying the temple ruins in the process.

The state government and Ministry of Tourism and Culture have ordered the company to halt clearing works at the Candi 11 site immediately, he said.

"The ruins can be reconstructed on its original site with the agreement of the company or near the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) excavation site at Sungai Batu.

"The Candi 11 plans can be used as a reference to ensure its design and material are the same as the original," he said.

The destroyed Candi 11 in Sungai Batu was a 1974 reconstruction at the original site which dated back to between the 8th and 11th centuries.  


Candi destruction shocks former Kedah MB

Posted: 03 Dec 2013 08:15 AM PST

(The Star) - It started as a dream to create a tourist attraction with an ancient candi of Bujang Valley as its centrepiece. Two decades on, it's now an archaeological nightmare.

Former Kedah Mentri Besar Tan Sri Osman Aroff said he had made preservation of all the candi a "strict condition" when approving the Kedah International Resort City project in Bujang Valley in 1993.

The project never saw the light of the day. However, things have spiralled out of control.

"I am devastated to learn that a candi in Sungai Batu was destroyed by a private developer recently.

"This begs the question of how the state land ended up in private hands," said Osman.

That is the burning question, because his successors as Mentris Besar have also denied selling the land to any developer.

Bandar Saujana Sdn Bhd project manager Saw Guan Keat had said that the company bought eight lots of land in Sungai Batu from another developer earlier this year.

The new developer destroyed the candi while clearing the land for a housing project.

Osman said the Kedah Inter-national Resort City project was a joint venture between a Qatar-based company and Mentri Besar Inc. The state had a 40% stake while the company held the remaining shares.

"The state also acquired the surrounding piece of land for the project covering about 400ha," he added.

Osman said he was surprised to learn that a private developer now owned part of the land.

"The project was supposed to comprise an agriculture park and a hotel amid the preserved ruins of an ancient civilisation," said Osman who was Mentri Besar from 1985 to 1996.

Another former Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Sanusi Junid (1996-1999), said he had rejected the request of a foreign company to be recognised as a local one. Sanusi told the company to abide by the country's rules and regulations.

"But after one meeting with me, they never came back," he said.

Former executive councillor Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah of the Pakatan Rakyat state government (2008-2013) said the company had threatened to sue the state for rejecting its proposal to build houses in the area.

Amiruddin said the late Kedah Mentri Besar Tan Sri Azizan Abdul Razak rejected the company's proposal because it involved building thousands of housing units in the area.

"We do not need a foreign company to build houses here."



PISA: Malaysia up in maths, down in science and reading

Posted: 03 Dec 2013 08:04 AM PST

(MM) - Malaysian students scored higher in mathematics but registered declines in both reading ability and science, according to the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey released today.

In the 2012 edition of the global education benchmark, Malaysian students recorded an average score of 421 for mathematics, which was below the 494 mean for countries within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) but above the 404 the country registered in the 2009+ edition.

Reading ability fell the most, plunging to an average of 398 in the 2012. Malaysian students in the previous edition had recorded a score of 414, while the current OECD average was 496.

Science scores saw a minor decline versus the older findings, with Malaysians weighing at an average of 420 marks against the 422 that the batch three years ago managed. Students in the 34 OECD countries received an average of 501.

Malaysia was now ranked 55th for science, down two spots from the previous assessment.

The combined results meant Malaysia was 52nd overall out of the 65 countries, and firmly entrenched in the bottom third of the survey.

Neighbours Singapore were placed second in the assessment, behind top-scorers from Shanghai in China. Thailand is two places above Malaysia while Indonesia was second from bottom.

The 2012 PISA assessed 510,000 students between the ages of 15 years 3 months and 16 years 2 months in the 65 participating countries.

This is the second time Malaysia has been included in the survey that first began tracking students worldwide on the three subjects in 2000. The country was listed in the 2009+ edition, which was an expanded version of the 2009 results that tested new entrants in 2010.

The latest results is set to trigger another round of finger-pointing over the state of Malaysia's education, which is due for a major overhaul under the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 that was launched last month.

Among the stated aims of the education master plan was to put Malaysia in the upper third of the PISA benchmark as well as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), another widely-used global yardstick.

Critics have accused the government of allowing political interests to creep into decisions on education policy, most notably the decision to abandon of the Policy of Teaching Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) in 2010 that is alleged to have been a nod to Malay nationalists.

Parents and education lobbyists, including the outspoken Parents Action Group for Education (PAGE), say the inconsistencies in education and a refusal to put greater emphasis on English was to blame for the  country's prolonged drop in standards. 


Pakatan leaders demand that Khalid review proposed Selangor hike

Posted: 03 Dec 2013 07:44 AM PST

(The Star) - The Pakatan Rakyat top leadership has demanded that Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim review the proposed salary hike for the state government leaders and lawmakers.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Lim Kit Siang collectively said while the pay rise was necessary, the quantum should be determined carefully.

"A study should be done on the pay rise decision, and while we leave it to Khalid and the state government for the final decision, we generally agree that the amount can be reduced before the hike is implemented," said Anwar at a joint press conference in Parliament.

On Khalid's firm stance that there will be no change in the pay rise and recipients who did not want to accept it could donate the excess to charity, Anwar said it was merely a "spur of the moment response".

"I have already met him about this, and he is amenable to our proposal to review the proposed new salaries," he said.

Both Abdul Hadi and Lim agreed, adding that the state government also needed to consider its financial position and the rakyat's sentiments before making a final call.

Under the new salary structure, the pay of assemblymen will be upped 87% from RM6,000 to RM11,250 a month, the Speaker from RM6,109.29 to RM22,500 (268%), and the deputy Speaker from RM3,327.50 to RM15,750 (373%).

The salary of exco members will go up 231% from RM6,109.29 to RM20,250 while the Mentri Besar will have a pay rise of 106.4% from RM14,175 to RM29,250.

Meanwhile, Tan Sri Shahrir Samad (BN-Johor Bahru) told a press conference that Selangor state government should base the pay of its leaders and lawmakers on the state's income per capita.

"They should index the salaries based on the state economy, and doing this by GDP per capita is the best way as they should adjust salaries to a measure acceptable to public domain, and GDP is in the public domain," he said.

Shahrir also lashed out at Khalid's reason for the salary raise, which was so that the recipients will be able to work without worrying about sourcing money from elsewhere.

"It does not mean that the lesser money you receive the more possible it is for you to become corrupt.

"Corruption is a matter of greed and lack of morals, not about a lack of money. If other MPs, for example, can lead a more moderate life, why can't they?" he said.


Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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