Monday, October 18, 2010

DAP claims Sabah, Sarawak biggest losers under Budget 2011

The DAP claimed today that Sabah and Sarawak remained “marginalised” under Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Budget 2011 despite the slew of mega projects promised by the government.

Tony Pua, the DAP’s National Publicity Secretary said that the two East Malaysian states would stand to be the biggest losers, as the majority of the projects were allocated to Peninsular Malaysia.

“The value of all the projects cited which are specifically located in West Malaysia amounted to a massive RM109.74 billion and this will include some of the headline projects such as the RM40 billion MRT system for the Klang Valley, the RM26 billion KL International Financial District (KLIFD), an estimated RM10 billion worth of new highways, a RM10 billion mixed property development in Sungai Buloh by EPF as well as the RM5 billion controversial 100-storey Warisan Merdeka,” Pua told reporters today.

Pua: It is hence completely not surprising that the people of Sabah and Sarawak believe that they have been royally screwed and we have a Commonwealth Games gold medalist who chose to don Sabah colours and not that of Malaysia

Galas, Batu Sapi: two more battles ahead for voter support

The impending Galas and Batu Sapi by-elections have come about unexpectedly, and will again serve as another important test of support by political parties on both sides.

Since it has been perceived that backing for Barisan Nasional (BN) from non-Malays, particularly the Chinese, appears to be on the decline, the two by-elections will again be important gauges.

Twenty per cent of Galas and 38 per cent of Batu Sapi voters are Chinese. The majority are bumiputeras.

Public Reaction to Budget 2011

To the streets to get reactions from the public on the 2011 budget.


Muhyiddin confirms Sabah CM to head Batu Sapi campaign

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin confirmed today that Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman’s appointment as elections director for Batu Sapi.

“The Prime Minister has agreed to appoint Datuk Seri Musa Aman as the elections director for the Batu Sapi by-election,” said the Deputy Prime Minister.

It is understood that Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan has been appointed as deputy elections director.

“We will be announcing the candidates for both the Galas and the Batu Sapi by-elections on October 24, simultaneously in two different places,” said Muhyiddin.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that the Umno candidate for the Galas state seat will be decided in a day or two.

"We will announce the candidate for Umno as the same time for the candidate in Sabah, which will be a PBS candidate," added Muhyiddin.

Muhyiddin Yassin

Paper says ‘sorry’ after denial by councillors

A Chinese-language newspaper has apologised for printing a report that a Penang Island municipal councillor had engaged a prostitute during a recent working visit to Singapore – after 23 councillors had openly denied the allegation.

China Press today apologised to the MPPP councillors for its report titled "Who sought prostitute? Alleged scandal in councillors’ working visit to Singapore" in its street edition on Sunday, and retracted the article.

"The report had being proven to be untrue after the 23 councillors had openly denied it," the newspaper said.

The report had said a councillor had brought a prostitute back to his hotel room during the working visit between Oct 4 and 7, and that two other councillors went to a nightclub to watch "dances by sexy girls".

The group, which included all the MPPP councillors except Lim Kah Cheng, was led by council secretary Ang Aing Thye on the working visit to learn about management of traffic, hawkers and environment, development control, housing development and urban transformation.

In a joint statement issued by the 23 councillors on Sunday, the group said they could provide an "alibi" that none of them had engaged a prostitute during the visit. They described the report as "vicious" and "unprofessional".

The statement added that the report had lowered the esteem of the councillors in the eyes of the public.

Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM) lodged a police report on the matter, asking the police and Interpol to investigate.


PAS confident of retaining Galas

The party's supreme body is expected to meet this coming Sunday where they may discuss preparations for the by-election campaign.

When asked about the fact that the state seat is surrounded by two other BN-controlled state seats under the parliamentary constituency of Gua Musang (also won by a BN candidate in the last general election), vice-president Salahuddin Ayub said that it posed no problems.

"It will be a big challenge for us to defend the seat, and I will not underestimate the strength of our opponents, but the party is in a strong position to defend it," he said during a press conference at the party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur this morning.


Kelantan palace revokes Ibrahim Ali’s datukship

The Sultan of Kelantan today stripped Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali of his datukship with immediate effect.

The Pasir Mas MP was awarded the Order of the Life of the Crown of Kelantan in 2003.

Ibrahim also holds datukships from Melaka and Selangor which were awarded to him in 1994 and 1999 respectively.

The palace decision came just days after the former deputy minister visited the former ruler Tuanku Ismail Petra last week.

Ibrahim Ali hospitalised for heart ailment

Pasir Mas MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali is undergoing treatment at the Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital here for a heart ailment, according to Malay rights group (Perkasa) deputy president Abdul Rahman Abu Bakar.

He said Ibrahim, 57 (picture), who is president of Perkasa, was admitted to the hospital yesterday and was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Ibrahim Ali undergoes two-hour heart surgery

Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali has undergone a two-hour heart surgery this afternoon, two days after he was warded at the Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital near here.

“Alhamdulillah Datuk Ibrahim (picture) has safely undergone surgery. He was wheeled into the surgery room at 10.10am,” said Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali in a short text message.

“He will be transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) soon,” he added.

It is understood that the Pasir MP’s heart surgery began at 1pm today.

Perkasa deputy president Datuk Abdul Rahman Abu Bakar said the 57-year-old politician was warded on Saturday after complaining of ill-health over the past three weeks.

Ibrahim won the Pasir Mas federal seat in Election 2008 on a PAS ticket but later insisted he was independent, setting up Perkasa to pressure the government to ensure Malay rights and privileges are kept by the government.


Perkasa torches Namewee's poster outside KLSCAH

A group of 50 protesters from Malay rights group Perkasa gathered outside the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) in Kuala Lumpur tonight to protest against controversial rapper Namewee as he was about to speak at a youth forum.


Anwar says big projects sign of BN’s imminent fall

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim attacked the Najib administration for going down the mega projects track to boost the economy, saying BN’s obsession with “grandeur” marks its imminent fall.

“The government’s excitement to display grandeur, that will be the sign of the fall of their empire. We will pray for this,” the Opposition Leader (picture) told the august House in his debate speech on Budget 2011 in Parliament this morning.

Sarawak express boat collision: Body of baby girl recovered, 20 feared dead

The body of a baby girl was recovered and about 20 are feared dead after an express boat collided with a timber barge and sank, pitching more than 30 passengers into the Ulu Tatau River in central Sarawak, between Bakun and Bintulu.

Eleven people managed to swim to shore and were rescued but the rest are believed to be trapped underneath the boat.

Search and rescue is ongoing in the remote location near a timber concession camp called Kem Kelubuk even though nightfall has turned the place pitch dark.

The body of the five-month-old baby has been sent to the Bintulu Hospital for post-mortem.

Over 11,000 waiting for organ, tissue transplants

Health Minister Datuk Sei Liow Tiong Lai said despite the increasing numbers of organ pledges and actual donors, the numbers of actual organ donors are still very small. He said that in his speech before launching the National Organ Donation Awareness Week 2010 celebrations on Sunday.


20 Stalls At Chow Kit Market Go Up In Smoke

Some 20 stalls at the Chow Kit wet market here were razed in a fire that broke out at 9pm Monday.

However, no casualties were reported.

Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue assistant director (Operations) Azizan Ismail said firemen arrived within four minutes and put down the blaze about an hour later.

"The cause of the fire is still being investigated but a witness said he saw the fire start at stall selling frozen meat. While fighting the fire, a small explosion also came from a fridge at the stall.

"This led us (firemen) to take precautions against ammonia poisoning," he told reporters at the scene.

He added that the quick action by his men prevented the fire from spreading to 30 other stalls.

Losses were estimated to run in the thousands of ringgit.


Budget 2011 views from the Parliament lobby

Soon after the Prime Minister's presentation of his budget 2011, there's a rush for views from both opposition and BN politicians.

Not unexpected, it was thumbs up from BN and thumbs down from PR.


Kit Siang accuses Najib of using Budget 2011 to keep BN in power

The DAP’s Lim Kit Siang said today that Budget 2011 clearly showed the Najib administration had no appetite for reform and was using public funds to keep the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) in power.

“The Budget for 2011 has all of the attributes of a blunt tool for distributing public funds to UMNOputras, BN cronies, and vested groups that constitute the vote bank of the Barisan,” the influential opposition party’s adviser said in a media statement.

The DAP’s Lim Kit Siang

Nurul pulls out from PKR election for Vice President.


Proton going backwards: Bung Moktar

A government MP today criticised national car company Proton for being "backward" by coming up with a supposedly new car but designed according to an old-fashioned car.

Debating the 2011 Budget, Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) said he could not understand what was in the mind of the Proton management when introducing the Inspira recently.

"I don’t see any new changes in Proton. At one time, we used to have Lancer, but now Mitsubishi is no longer producing it. And now, Proton changed the name and comes out with Inspira, using Mitsubishi," he said.

"The reason given was, to create a prototype, it would cost RM700 million, so it has to combine with the existing resources to come up with a new car. This is very embarrassing for the country."

Bung Moktar said if Proton could no longer afford to run the business, it should just shut down the company.

 Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan)

RM460 million spent by Tourism Ministry last year

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen says Malaysia received a 115-fold return from its RM460mil tourism expenditure last year.


Private Public Fund PPF participants' freedom to invest may gain interests as high as 5% to 5.5%

The good news is that participants of the Private Pension Fund (PPF) proposed in 2011 Budget are free to decide how much they want to contribute to the scheme.

Another plus point of the PPF is that employers can claim tax relief for contributions.

However, what may not sit well with the people is that the scheme may be privatised.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai did not discount the fact that the government would outsource the scheme. However, he assured the public that the PPF will be monitored by his ministry.

"It is still in the proposal stage and the government is waiting for feedback from both (the) public and private sectors before it is launched next year," he said after attending the 4th Global Bio-Herbs Economic Forum, at the Palace of Golden Horses yesterday.

 Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai

Tengku Muhammad Fa-iz is Kelantan crown prince

Tengku Muhammad Fa-iz Petra ibni Sultan Ismail Petra, the younger brother of the Sultan of Kelantan Sultan Muhammad V, was appointed the Tengku Mahkota Kelantan and heir to the Kelantan throne with immediate effect.

State Secretary Datuk Mohd Aiseri Alias said the decision was made by the State Council of Succession which met Monday and chaired by its chairman, Tengku Abdul Halim Al-Haj Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ibrahim.

The ceremony to present the letter of appointment as Tengku Mahkota Kelantan was held at Istana Negeri in Kubang Kerian at 2pm.

Mohd Aiseri told a press conference that the meeting of the Council of Succession was attended by 14 of its 15 members except Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah whose membership ceased automatically for being absent before without the permission of the council.

Chua: Tap into economic growth

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek says Malaysia should tap in the economic growth in Asia. He was speaking at the press conference on the forthcoming 2nd World Chinese Economic Forum to be held in Kuala Lumpur from Nov 2.


‘Dictators can bring good’ said Tun Dr Mahathir

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today if democracy does not work for the betterment of a country, an authoritarian system might be the answer.

"Democracy has failed in many countries. They have failed to deliver what they have promised. In the system of election for example, if you are to insist on 100% support to form a government, you will never have a government – that is why we have to be satisfied with a majority government," Mahathir said.

Speaking to about 300 people at an international forum here on "The Creation of a Global Citizen: Media Liberalisation and New Political Realities", he highly commended China for having become the world’s number one economy despite authoritarian rule.

No delay in action against principals: Nazri

The government said today it did not delay taking action against two school principals who allegedly uttered racist remarks but stressed that it needed to follow the due process before making a decision.

"As the saying goes, better late than never, but I must stress that it’s not late," Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz in the Dewan Rakyat today.

"This is the first time in the history of our civil service that government officials are being cited for racism, so it takes time."

Nazri, who is also the Padang Rengas MP, said this in reply to Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan), who asked what action is being taken against individuals and organisations "who are extreme in their views" such as Perkasa, Utusan Malaysia, and the two principals in Johor and Kedah .

Government may paid upto RM5 billion to Plus for not raising toll rates for 5 years.

Toll highway operator PLUS Expressways Bhd could be compensated as much as RM5 billion over the next five years for not raising toll rates.

The highway concessionaire is also owed about RM2.5 billion from previous compensation as at June 30.

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and UEM Group Bhd (UEM), which have proposed to privatise PLUS for RM23 billion, are also opening discussions with the government to restructure the toll concession agreement.

The deal to privatise PLUS could be completed within 8-12 months.

New palace bill rises to RM935m

Putrajaya has approved a further RM147 million for the new Istana Negara, more than double the initial bill of RM400 million to RM935 million for the palace along Jalan Duta.

In a written reply to Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut) in Parliament today, Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor explained that the additional allocation was to bear costs that were not included in the original contract which was set at RM650 million.

They include costs to increase the palace’s security system, capital contribution payments to utility companies and interior decorations.

“The contract cost for the construction of the Istana Negara complex on Jalan Duta on a 100,000 square feet area was set at RM650 million.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Budget 2011 Reviews and Comment for Malaysians

Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s second Budget since becoming prime minister was put to the test yesterday, hours after he tabled the Budget 2011 that proposes to spend RM212 billion over the coming year.

Not many were amused by a new six per cent tax slapped on paid television satellite packages.

Some among the 12 were also not impressed by the idea of a 100-storey skyscraper over Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara, two independence icons that will remain standing in the RM5 billion Warisan Merdeka project.

Here, in their own words, are the verdict of the 12.

Cell phones now sales-tax exempt

The Government has proposed a sales tax exemption for mobile phones, effective 4pm today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.

“To harmonise tax treatment on Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) with Global System Mobile (GSM) and ordinary mobile phones, it is proposed that mobile phones be exempted from sales tax,” said Najib, who is also finance minister, when tabling Budget 2011 in Parliament today.

Currently, ordinary mobile phones are subject to 10 per cent sales tax, whereas PDAs with GSM, which may also function as mobile phones, are given sales tax exemption under the Sales Tax (Exemption) Order 2008.

Therefore, sales tax treatment on mobile phones and that of other equipment, which may also function as mobile phones such as PDA with GSM, is not the same.

Two get seven years in Sosilawati murders

Two men pleaded guilty today to disposing of evidence in the murder of cosmetics millionaire Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others at the Banting Magistrate’s Court here today.

Odd-job worker U. Suresh, 26, and mechanic K. Sarawanan, 19, pleaded guilty to four counts of causing the disappearance of evidence of an offence committed, under Section 201 of the Penal Code.

Sarawanan admitted to burning the bodies of Sosilawati and her companions, while Suresh said he had scattered the ashes in Sungai Panchau near here between 8.45pm and 9.30pm on August 30.

Both were believed to have been working at the time for main suspect lawyer N. Pathmanabhan, who has been accused of masterminding the murders.

U. Suresh (left) and K. Sarawanan, both accused in the murders of Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others, are led away from court after their sentencing today

Confusion over no-toll-hike announcement

Government leaders appeared to give conflicting responses today to the prime minister’s no-toll-hike announcement as questions arose over whether Putrajaya would honour its concession contract with PLUS Expressways Bhd and compensate the operator.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim told reporters in Parliament this evening that this was not necessary as PLUS, which operates the lucrative North-South Expressway, “has enough profits”.

Pua previously highlighted that PLUS’s concession allowed it to be compensated in lieu to toll rate hikes.

Lambert rocks a full stadium despite protests

American Idol star Adam Lambert rocked a full- house at his concert at the Putra Indoor Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Thursday drowning out a demonstration outside led by PAS against his performance.

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2011 Budget: Ministers and MPs' reaction

WOMEN, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil:

I think I am the happiest minister today. After being in the Cabinet for nine years, this budget has been the best one so far for the ministry. It opens up many opportunities for women to work, even if they are at home.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein:

I am glad that the prime minister has given us the allocation that we have asked for, this will be channelled to tackle problems such as reducing the crime rate and improving ties between the various agencies under the ministry. It is also a very rakyat-friendly budget which is focusing into transforming the nation into a developed nation.

PKR secretary-general and Machang MP Saifuddin Nasution:

I feel that the budget still has a lot of flaws and has not addressed issues that concern the rakyat. It is still rhetoric and the focus is more on mega projects.

Health Minister Datuk LiowTiong Lai:

Our allocation has increased form last year, which shows the government's commitment to healthcare and improving hospital facilities for the rakyat. There is also an increase of training funds to train more doctors. I would like to thank the PM on the implementation of more mobile clinics and another 25 1Malaysia clinics.

Opposition Leader and Permatang Pauh MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim:

It's definitely an election budget, there is still no emphasis to assure the public of a new more transparent model. It still does not address issues such like the failure to attract foreign investments and it is still riddled with mega projects that will benefit cronies, In my view it is a budget that focuses too much on the goodies without being substantial.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen:

It is a very holistic budget and am glad that there are many benefits provided for women such as the extended maternity leave. I am also very supportive of the minimum wage. Hopefully, with the abolishing of import duties for the luxury (shopping) items, we will be very competitive in terms of tourism and I hope this will be extended until the year 2020 for tourists are estimated to spend a total of RM50 billion for shopping.

PAS deputy president and Bachok MP Nasharuddin Mat Isa:

The budget has too many incentives that are not needed by the rakyat, such as the abolishing of import duties for lingerie and luxury items when more issues on costs that burden the rakyat such as the high cost for toll was not really dealt with. It sounds good that the toll won't be increased for five years but after this five years what will happen?

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Wee Ka Siong:

It is good that now school children will be supplied with vitamins and supplements which will complement the 1Malaysia milk programme. It shows that the government cares and is putting emphasis on the children's health.

Klang MP Charles Santiago:

If you look at the introduction of the Budget, it’s RM212.13 billion ... out of that 76% goes for operating budget and 21% for development.

How are you going to reach your 2020 high income economy when your development expenditure is so little?

But the good part of the budget is the commission of the wage consultative body, where multi-stakeholders play a part.

And why do we need a hundred-storey building in KL?

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