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Friday, September 9, 2011

NRD shields itself, blames outdated database again

The National Registration Department admitted that failure to update its database has resulted in another case where an apparently non-citizen is listed as a voter.

According a NRD spokesperson Jainisah Mohd Noor, 27-year-old Pandan voter Yusnati Haris Lakmana, who is listed as a holder of a temporary identity card on the NRD website, is in fact a citizen.

"We ran a check and found that she was granted citizenship in 2008," said the officer.

She said that Yusnati is still listed as a green IC holder on the website because the publicly-accessible database is not updated.

"We are still waiting for an explanation on this from the IT department," Jainisah added when contacted earlier this week.

When contacted another officer from the Election Commission who refused to be named also laid the blame on the NRD's outdated database.

mismah in sinar harian 140811 front page story imageThis was also the case for Mismah, who was listed as a permanent resident on the NRD website, but as a voter on the Election Commission website.

Mismah was initially listed as a red IC holder, which denotes the person as a "permanent resident" while a green IC means that he or she is a "temporary resident".
The NRD had within hours of Malaysiakini's checks changed her status to 'citizen', later clarifying that Mismah was a permanent resident for 29 years before being granted citizenship.

Green IC revived in 2008

The issuance of green ICs was terminated in January 2005, and revived by the Home Ministry in October, 2008.

In announcing it,then Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar said that green IC are issued to those born in Malaysia and have Malaysian birth certificates, but cannot verify their parents' background.

Bernama had then reported that the cards, valid for five years, were to be issued from December 2008 to June 2009 to solve the problem of undocumented residents.

The national news agency reported that the operation's main targets are ethnic Indian residents living in border towns, particularly in Kelantan, 30,000 of whom were estimated to be without documents.

NONEAn answer in Parliament to Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar (left) in 2009 revealed that 8,616 green ICs had been issued to stateless persons as of Feb 25, 2009.

"30,056 holders of green ICs (issued prior to 2005) had yet to come to the NRD to renew the cards," current Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein had said.

More 'Yusnatis' found?

ran checks on both the Election Commission and NRD websites and found that Yusnati is a voter in the Chempaka state constituency and Pandan parliamentary constituency.

Yesterday, PAS revealed three more cases like Yusnati's, where green card holders were found on the electoral roll.

The three cases found on rolls for Terengganu and Selangor, he said, are among many more found by the party.

The Islamic party claims of the cases of irregularities were spotted after the objections period.

PAS that one of the address of an individual who is listed as a Serdang voter is non-existent and that no one in the residential area knew such a person.

‘Pak Lah’s sister-in-law arranged aircraft deal’

A leaked 2006 US cable noted that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's sister-in-law was involved in the procurement of a US$400 million aircraft deal.

KUALA LUMPUR: A confidential US diplomatic cable from 2006 has claimed that then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s sister-in-law was allegedly involved in the procurement of a US$400 million aircraft deal.

According to the cable, Abdullah’s brother had also suggested that the deal was done in return for a commission, ostensibly for the sister-in-law.

The cable stated that Abdullah made the announcement for the purchase of the cargo aircraft from European makers Airbus after his trip to France.

“Prime Minister Abdullah’s sister-in-law arranged a US$400 million contract to purchase military cargo aircraft from Airbus.

“There had been no indication that the Malaysian military were in the market for a new cargo aircraft prior to this announcement,” said the cable. It did not name the sister-in-law.

The cable quoted a source who said he was informed by Abdullah’s brother that the aircraft was “done for political or other reasons, such as commission”.

This particular deal was pointed out by the US diplomats in their cable to highlight the weakenesses in the Malaysian procurement process.

They said that Malaysia’s procurement process, which plays a large role in the nation’s economy, fell short in three key areas: lack of transparency, outright corruption, and Bumiputera requirements and preferences.

’30% commission’

The cable, sent from the US embassy here to the State Department in Washington, outlined corruption as a significant problem, particularly for larger contracts, and gave examples of the alleged involvement of the then prime minister, his deputy and the ruling party Umno.

In citing another example, the cable said that the sellers – local politicians, agents, civil servants and military personnel – all received a 30% commission from the procurement of T91 Polish tanks and SU-30 Russian aircraft.

The US diplomats also said that their source – an executive at a US aerospace firm – was allegedly approached by someone purporting to work for (the then) Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Najib (Tun Razak) about a deal, suggesting, “you will get a part of it”. The source declined this offer, added the cable.

Other sources had also similarly informed the US diplomats of corruption in the Malaysian procurement process.

The cable stated that political parties, including the ruling Umno, relied on money politics for much of their operating funds.

“Projects or tenders often are awarded as political patronage, with a cut of the funds circulating back to the party through different channels,” stated that cable dated June 6, 2006.
The confidential cable was leaked by whistleblower site WikiLeaks to the Malaysia Today blog run by Raja Petra Kamarudin who posted it today.

Removing protectionist policies

The US cable said that American firms operating in Malaysia had complained that the implementation of the Malaysian procurement rules lacked transparency, and that they found the Bumiputera-favouring policies to be restrictive, if not prohibitive.

“Phasing out Bumiputera preferences may not be feasible, but even achieving transparent, rules- based procurement would make a big difference to US firms,” the cable said, stating that the right forum to raise the issue would be at the ongoing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks between the US and Malaysia.

However, the US diplomats conceded that it would be difficult to negotiate the removal or the loosening of the Bumiputera policy

“The Malaysian government’s high sensitivity concerning government procurement is suggested by the repeated efforts of its officials to try to remove this subject from the FTA agenda, despite clear statements from US officials that it must be on the table.

“The Bumiputera preferences will be the most difficult element of these negotiations. Eliminating them, even with a phased-out period, would be an unrealistic objective,” added the cable.

It suggested that a more feasible approach would be to seek a “de minimis” level below which Bumiputera preferences would be allowed to remain, but above which contracts would be open to international competition.

“Even this may be more than the Malaysian government could concede, but merely instilling discipline, transparency and responsiveness in the current system would make a big difference to US firms,” noted the US cable.

The US-Malaysia FTA talks – which started in 2006 – have been held back since July 2008 following the Malaysian government’s reluctance to do away with some of the protectionist policies.

However, in October 2010, the US entered into a regional negotiation with Malaysia and seven other Asia-Pacific nations to achieve a regional trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.

Kempen ‘Bersihkan Najib’ dalam Umno?

"Benda ni agak dah lama saya tahu, lebih kurang tiga bulan lepas bila seorang pemimpin peringkat negeri memaklumkan kepada saya," kata seorang pemimpin Umno Selangor.

PETALING JAYA: Satu gerakan tersusun yang dinamakan ‘Bersihkan Najib’ di dalam Umno untuk menolak Presiden Umno yang juga Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak dikatakan mula dijalankan oleh pihak tertentu di dalam parti itu.

Selain serangan terus terhadap Najib sendiri, gerakan tersebut juga dikatakan banyak menumpukan serangan ke atas isterinya, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor bagi melemahkan kredibiliti Najib sebagai pemimpin nombor satu negara itu.

Demikian menurut sebuah blog pro Umno terkenal, yang dikendalikan oleh Anuar Mohd Nor yang juga merupakan Ketua Eksekutif Institut Kajian Asas Kemasyarakatan.

“Paling ketara usaha ini menjalankan serangan ke atas Rosmah untuk memperkecil kredibiliti Najib dan mendesak beliau supaya berundur,” menurut petikan entri dari blog terbabit.

Penulis blog terbabit juga percaya pihak-pihak di dalam Umno akan membuat penafian sekaligus menyatakan ikrar taat setia terhadap presiden Umno itu.

“Setakat ini realiti program untuk menjatuhkan dan mendesak Najib untuk melepaskan jawatan adalah benar dan wujud walaupun mungkin penafian akan timbul tetapi Najib harus tahu realiti yang ada ini,” tulis beliau lagi.

Bagaimanapun, beliau yang mendakwa mengetahui beberapa nama terlibat dengan gerakan ini masih belum mahu mendedahkan pihak -pihak yang memainkan peranan menjalankan agenda ‘Bersihkan Najib’ dari Umno ini.

“Suara yang menamakan mereka yang terbabit sudah ada sungguhpun belum berhajat untuk memaklumkannya,” tambah beliau lagi.

Sementara itu, dalam perkembangan berkaitan seorang pemimpin Umno di peringkat bahagian dari negeri Selangor turut percaya kewujudan gerakan ‘Bersihkan Najib’ tersebut.

Beliau yang enggan mendedahkan identitinya itu mendakwa, gerakan untuk menjatuhkan Najib itu diketahuinya apabila diberitahu oleh seorang pemimpin peringkat negeri kira-kira tiga bulan lalu.

“Benda ni agak dah lama saya tahu, lebih kurang tiga bulan lepas bila seorang pemimpin peringkat negeri memaklumkan kepada saya,” ujar beliau ketika ditemui di sini.

Najib gagal kawal tindak-tanduk isteri?

Menurutnya antara sebab utama berlakunya penolakan kepimpinan Najib dari dalam Umno sendiri berpunca daripada Najib yang dikatakan gagal mengawal tindak-tanduk isterinya.

“Najib bukan sahaja nampak lemah dalam beberapa aspek kepimpinannya, imejnya, tapi lebih teruk lagi tindak-tanduk isterinya semakin memberatkan agenda Umno dan Barisan Nasional untuk meraih keputusan yang baik dalam pilihan raya akan datang.

“Walaupun Najib dan pemimpin Umno yang lain memang berusaha memberikan persepsi positif di mata rakyat terhadap penglibatan Rosmah dalam urusan kerajaan, orang ramai tetap menganggap sebaliknya.

“Dalam isu isteri PM ini, apa yang dilihat oleh ahli-ahli Umno khususnya golongan akar umbi tidak menunjukan apa yang dikatakan oleh Najib mahupun pemimpin-pemimpin Umno sendiri.

“Lebih menghairankan, saya dan kebanyakan rakan-rakan lain dalam Umno percaya Najib sendiri sedar kesan negatif dari tindak-tanduk isterinya itu, tetapi malangnya Najib seolah-olah tidak dapat berbuat apa-apa tentangnya,” ujarnya.

'Five detained' over Delhi blast claim

Authorities are investigating a claim of responsibility allegedly made by the armed group, Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami [AFP]
Five people, including the owner of an internet cafe, have been detained for questioning over an email allegedly claiming responsibility for Wednesday's deadly blast in New Delhi that left 12 dead, police say.

Senior police officials told the Reuters news agency on Thursday that they had detained the owner of an internet cafe in the Kishtwar region of Indian-administered Kashmir from where they suspect the email was sent on Wednesday.

The blast inquiry was quickly turned over to the National Investigation Agency [NIA], established after the Mumbai attack of 2008 to investigate and prevent terror attacks.

Police were scouring the city for possible suspects, searching hotels, bus stands, railway stations and the airport, UK Bansal, a senior security official, said.

All roads out of the city were under surveillance as well, he said.

Of the dozens injured in the blast, 19 still remain in intensive care unit. An official said on Thursday the government would do all it can to provide medical assistance.

Sketches released

Late on Wednesday, police also released two sketches they said were based on descriptions given by witnesses who claimed they had seen someone with a briefcase waiting in line outside the building.
Authorities are investigating the claim of responsibility allegedly made by the armed group Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami [HUJI], an al-Qaeda-linked with bases in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

It has claimed responsibility for attacks in India in the past.

"That mail has to be looked at very seriously because HUJI is a very prominent terrorist group among whose targets India is one," SC Sinha, the NIA chief, said.

In an email to the NIA, the group called on India to repeal the death sentence of a man convicted in connection with an attack on the Indian parliament in 2001 who was awaiting execution by hanging.
"We are determined to track down the perpetrators of this horrific crime and bring them to justice,'' P Chidambaram, India's interior minister, told parliament on Wednesday.

PM's admission

Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, conceded that there were "weaknesses in our security system and terrorists are taking advantage of them".

"We will never succumb to the pressure of terrorism," he said. "This is a long war in which all political parties, all the the people of India, have to stand united so that this scourge of terrorism is crushed."

Delhi police have released a photofit of two suspects linked to Wednesday's deadly blast in the city [EPA]
However, Arun Jaitley, an opposition politician, asked in parliament: "Have we become so vulnerable that terrorist groups can almost strike at will?"

The attack was carried out even though Delhi had been on high alert because parliament was in session.

The blast erupted near a large crowd of people waiting in line to reach a reception counter where passes are made for entry to the court building, RK Singh, India's home secretary, said.

The blast will renew concern about the authorities' ability to prevent attacks, particularly in sensitive, high-risk areas.

"This is a glaring example of the shortage of intelligence, both human and technical," Ajai Sahni, executive director at the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi, said.

In May, a low-intensity blast outside the same Delhi court triggered panic but injured no one.
The explosion on Wednesday was outside the busiest gate of the building.

It was the first major attack in India since a string of bombs exploded in three busy Mumbai neighbourhoods on July 13, killing 24 people.
Al Jazeera and agencies

UK court allows review of Btg Kali massacre

After six decades, family members of victims may see closure and some sense of justice.

KUALA LUMPUR: Family members of 24 unarmed Malaysian Chinese workers allegedly shot dead by British troops in a massacre more than six decades ago won a significant court battle in Britain that would give hope the massacre would be formally investigated, their lawyers said on Thursday.

The British High Court ruled on Aug 31 in favour of the family members for a review to a decision by the British government refusing to investigate the massacre, where the unarmed rubber plantation workers in Batang Kali were killed after being accused as terrorists trying to escape during the Malayan Emergency.

The court granted the judicial review as it deemed the case “raises arguable issues of importance”, reports China’s news agency Xinhua.

The lawyers said a full hearing would begin in spring 2012. It will examine whether the British Secretaries of State for Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office acted lawfully when they refused to hold a public inquiry into both the killings and their coverup, and to make any form of reparation to the victims’ families.

“After decades of seeking redress for the Batang Kali massacre victims we can now, finally, see the light of justice at the end of the tunnel,” lawyer representing the victim’s family, Quek Ngee Meng, said.

“We do not expect the British government to reverse its stance, but it should immediately and unconditionally release all documents relating to the massacre and the aborted attempt to investigate in the past so the court that hears this case, and the public, have a complete picture,” he told reporters at a press conference attended by six surviving kin of the victims, lawmakers and dozens of activists and representatives of ethnic Chinese groups.

The 24 ethnic Chinese were shot dead by British Scots Guards in 1948, when the then Malaya was under British colonial rule.

They were accused of being sympathisers of the communists and said to be trying to escape during the Malayan Emergency — a guerilla war fought between the Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan communist group.

The victims’ lawyers said the British government refused to correct the records even as evidence suggested all 24 victims were innocent.

After numerous appeals to both the British and the Malaysian governments for a probe into the massacre were turned down, citing lack of evidence, family members of the victims took the case to the British court.

“For the first time after six decades, I feel a sense of closure,” said Loh Ah Choy, whose uncle was killed before his eyes when he was nine.

“He was my only uncle and he deserves justice,” the 70-year-old told Xinhua.
- Bernama

A history lesson in the year 3000

Nevertheless, since Malaysia no longer exists and is now a small province of a bigger country called Indonesia, the Indonesian Government has classified Mat Indera as a national hero who was unjustly executed by the evil British Colonial Government for opposing Colonialism, in particular the British who illegally occupied North Borneo and gave the two states of Sabah and Sarawak to Malaysia instead of giving them back to Indonesia like they should have and as argued by Indonesia’s Father of Independence, President Sukarno.

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Once upon a time, 1,000 years ago, in a country that used to be called Malaysia but no longer exists and is now a province of a bigger country called Indonesia, there raged a hot debate.

Malaysia, 1,000 years ago, was suffering from a serious problem of an influx of immigrants from its neighbouring countries that threatened to swamp the local population. If they allowed this indiscriminate and uncontrolled immigration policy to go on, the local population would soon be outnumbered and the foreign population, which was being given citizenship and was being issued with identity cards so that they could vote in the elections, would soon enough take over the country.

The British Colonial Government, 100 years before that, had already realised the dangers of an indiscriminate and uncontrolled immigration policy and the migration of foreign workers that started in 1850 was ended in 1920. A hundred years later, the independent Government of Malaysia re-launched the immigration policy that the British had earlier ended.

Nevertheless, the hot debate that was raging throughout the country was not about this in spite of the fact that the East Malaysian state of Sabah was already showing signs of a serious social problem of an increase in crime, drug addiction, homeless children, prostitution and whatnot because of this indiscriminate and uncontrolled immigration policy where the foreign population was given citizenship and issued with identity cards to enable them to vote in the elections.

But this was not what the hot debate was all about.

Once upon a time, 1,000 years ago, in a country that used to be called Malaysia but no longer exists and is now a province of a bigger country called Indonesia, there raged a hot debate.

Malaysia, 1,000 years ago, was suffering from a serious problem of corruption and abuse of the power and the country was being run into the ground, which would in no time at all reduce the country to the status of a failed state.

Those who fought against corruption and abuse of power were arrested and jailed while those who propagated corruption and abuse of power were revered and appointed as leaders of the country.

Those who threatened the establishment were murdered and all these murders went unsolved and the deaths were classified as ‘sudden death’ or death due to the stopping of breathing.

The country’s resources were being plundered by all and sundry who walked in the corridors of power and these people were not shunned or treated as the pariahs of society but instead were honoured with titles such as Yang Berhormat, Yang Berbahagia, Datuk, Tan Sri, Tun, etc., and who would carry these titles in their names: for example, ‘Yang Mulia Tun Tan Sri Datuk Seri Datuk Raja Petra al Haj Bin Raja Kamarudin al Haj Almarhum’, which for short would be ‘Pete’.

But this was not what the hot debate was all about.

Once upon a time, 1,000 years ago, in a country that used to be called Malaysia but no longer exists and is now a province of a bigger country called Indonesia, there raged a hot debate.

Malaysia, 1,000 years ago, was suffering from a serious problem of racism and of religion being used for political purposes. It came to a stage where Nazi Germany of WWII or England of the time of Henry VIII began to look tame by comparison and the official religion of that country, Islam, started to appear like a joke when Muslims did and said things allegedly in the name of Islam that gave an impression that these people were utterly brainless.

The racism and ridiculous deeds and statements in the name of religion frightened and disgusted many Malaysians and those with a good education and strong finances left the country to seek citizenship in other countries that were not so silly.

Malaysia eventually suffered from this brain drain and capital flight and every Malaysian with brains and/or money who left the country was replaced with foreigners who had no education and/or no money and this further sapped the resources of the country until it soon got reduced to a country with a population that had very little education and almost no money.

But this was not what the hot debate was all about.

The hot debate that tore the country into two was about a man named Mat Indera who died in 1950 and the two sides that debated this person who had died more than 60 years before that argued about whether he was a Communist or Islamist, whether he was a traitor or patriot, whether he was a terrorist or freedom fighter, whether he fought against the government or fought to free the country, whether he was a bad man or a good man.

And while the hot debate about a man whom 99% of Malaysians had never heard of before that, did not know about till then, and did not care about anyway, the country was brought to a standstill.

No one bothered any longer about the future of the country and where the country was heading for and where it would be 60 years hence. They only cared about what happened 60 years before that and about a man who had died 60 years earlier and who was of no significance to the future of the country anyway.

That was what the hot debate was all about and which tore the country into two. And because of that the country once known as Malaysia no longer exists and is now a small province of a country called Indonesia when all Malaysians with brains and money left the country and the immigrants with no education and no money were given citizenship and after some time outnumbered the local population and voted in favour of that country being given back to its true owners, Indonesia, like what the Japanese proposed back in WWII when they kicked out the British and took over the administration of that country.

Nevertheless, since Malaysia no longer exists and is now a small province of a bigger country called Indonesia, the Indonesian Government has classified Mat Indera as a national hero who was unjustly executed by the evil British Colonial Government for opposing Colonialism, in particular the British who illegally occupied North Borneo and gave the two states of Sabah and Sarawak to Malaysia instead of giving them back to Indonesia like they should have and as argued by Indonesia’s Father of Independence, President Sukarno.

Pertemuan Najib-hakim dibimbangi pengaruhi kes Anwar

(Oleh: Nabihah Hamid)

KUALA LUMPUR: Pertemuan antara Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak dengan para hakim hari ini, dibimbangi sebagai satu percubaan untuk mempengaruhi kes perbicaraan Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Ketua Angkatan Muda KEADILAN (AMK), Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin mengulas pertemuan tersebut yang dikatakan untuk memberi taklimat bagaimana dana kerajaan persekutuan diguna untuk menambahbaik sistem penyampaian mahkamah.

“Dari segi prinsip ketelusan undang-undang, ia dilihat satu perkara yang bercanggah dengan pemisahan dalam sistem pentadbiran negara (Eksekutif dan kehakiman).

“Ia memeranjatkan apabila ketua hakim negara telah melanggar kepada prinsip asas itu. Sangat meragukan apabila seorang hakim dilihat membuat kunjungan hormat dalam keadaan PM bakal menjadi saksi dalam kes Fitnah terhadap Anwar yang sedang berjalan,” kata Shamsul.

Shamsul berkata, jika perkara itu berterusan, integriti badan kehakiman akan menjadi semakin teruk dan parah.

“Saya juga menganggap ini merupakan satu indikasi bahawa Najib mungkin akan diselamatkan oleh hakim agar tidak perlu menghadiri sebagai saksi sepertimana yang dilakukan oleh bekas PM Tun Mahathir di mana alasan yang diberikan tidak relevan.

“Apa relevan tindakan hakim berjumpa dengan Najib,” ujarnya yang juga Pengerusi Majlis Pimpinan KEADILAN Melaka.

Ketua Hakim Negara yang bakal bersara, Tun Zaki Azmi hari ini dilapor berkata, pertemuan tersebut bukan perkara baru kerana ia pernah diadakan sebanyak dua kali dengan Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad ketika  menjadi perdana menteri.

Sejumlah 130 hakim Mahkamah Tinggi, Mahkamah Rayuan dan Mahkamah Persekutuan menghadiri pertemuan dengan perdana menteri di Istana Kehakiman- yang dulunya dikenali sebagai Istana Keadilan- pada petang ini.

Tun Azmi juga menyatakan pelantikan hakim dan pesuruhjaya kehakiman ke mahkamah lebih tinggi pada masa ini lebih telus kerana ia dilakukan menerusi undi sulit. Sebelum pelantikan dibuat melalui JAC, kata Zaki, beban pelantikan hakim adalah pada pihak eksekutif dan ketua hakim.

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Najib Announces Three Programmes To Achieve Six Strategic Reform Initiatives

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today announced three new programmes to achieve the six Strategic Reform Initiatives (SRI) in respect of human resource development which was announced in June.

He said that to achieve the aspiration, MSC Malaysia's MyProCert programme would be launched this month to raise the skills of Malaysians towards international certification standards.

"Trained and certified Malaysians within this programme will be part of the critical supply for talent sourcing and development for industry players and potential foreign investors," he said at the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) update, here Thursday.

Najib said the second programme was the establishment of the National Talent Enhancement Programme (NTEP), an initiative within the electrical and electronics (E&E) National Key Economic Areas (NKEA).

The NTEP is open to engineering graduates with one or two years of working experience and those who wish to upskill/re-skill to enter into the electrical and electronics and green technology sectors.

It is a 12-month trainee programme to help develop industry-relevant skills via partnership with E&E companies.

Najib said five agencies and companies would spearhead the initiative namely Akademi Teknologi Hijau Sdn Bhd, the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) and the Selangor Human Resources Development Centre (SHRDC).

Meanwhile, TERAS or High Performing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which was launched by Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera (TERAJU) to increase Bumiputera SMEs, has identified 1,100 Bumiputera SMEs and 1,000 small/micro companies as a starting point.

Najib said the programme was intended to develop the next generation of world class Bumiputera entrepreneurs across all 12 NKEAs and aimed to increase the participation of Bumiputera SMEs in the economy by enabling SMEs to scale up, accelerate their growth and compete in the open market without heavy reliance on government contracts.

"I am pleased to say that the participation has been encouraging so far and I urge more Bumiputera companies to come forward and participate in this programme which will be beneficial to all of you as entrepreneurs and to the country as a whole," he said.

The SRIs are the second critical component of the ETP in addition to the 12 National Key Economic Areas in a bid to boost the nation's global competitiveness.

The other SRIs are the Government's Role in Business, Human Capital Development, Public Service Delivery, International Standards & Liberalisation and Narrowing Disparities.