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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mat Sabu insists he was hit by cop car

PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu today took the stand at a public inquiry on the Bersih 2.0 rally, describing his accident with a police vehicle resulting in a leg injury that required surgery.

Addressing the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) panel, Mohamad insisted that the motorcycle he was riding did no wrong and was hit by a police petrol car along Jalan Travers, bear KL Sentral.

"The motorcycle which I was riding pillon was heading downhill and the police patrol car from the opposite direction was heading in the wrong side of the road and stopped,

"My knee hit the front lamp of the Proton Waja resulting in the injury," said Mohamad, better known as Mat Sabu.

He said he was leaving the nearby Mandarin Court Hotel and did not know that he was being tailed by the police.

Following public outcry over the police handling of the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9 and claims of police abuse, the police scrambled to come out with an in depth briefing denying the charges.

NONEAmong others, Federal Public Order and Internal Security Department director Salleh Rashid claimed there was no truth to the claim of a police vehicle hitting Mohamad's motorcycle.

Salleh had claimed that CCTV footage showed Mohamad’s vehicle hitting a road divider before falling.

While the video does not show Mohamad’s vehicle being struck, it does have one segment in which a police 4WD vehicle chases two motorcycles, with the PAS politician riding pillion on one.

Pakatan ahead in Perak, Selangor, KL, internal poll shows

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is expected to secure a majority of the federal votes in Perak, Selangor as well as Kuala Lumpur, an internal PKR poll shows.
Fifty-one per cent of respondents from Perak said they would vote for the federal opposition, along with 57 per cent in Selangor and 61 per cent in Kuala Lumpur, where PR holds 10 of the 11 parliamentary seats.
File photo of Pakatan Rakyat leaders at their convention in Shah Alam in December 2009. A recent poll shows the coalition will do well in the next general election in several states.
PR is also expected to win 40 per cent of the votes in Johor, traditionally a Barisan Nasional (BN) stronghold, according to the survey obtained by The Malaysian Insider. This is despite Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim scoring net negative approval ratings in all but one of the four states.
The de facto PKR leader only achieved a net positive two points in Selangor with an approval rating of 44 per cent, while support was lukewarm in Kuala Lumpur (net negative one point) and weaker in Perak (net negative 16 points) and Johor (net negative 17 points).
In comparison, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak scored net positives of two, six, 10 and 34 points for Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Perak and Johor respectively.
The survey also found that support for current Perak and Johor mentris besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir and Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman respectively were split along racial lines.
Abdul Ghani was very well-regarded by Malay voters (net positive 44 points) but failed to strike a chord with Chinese ones (net negative 23 per cent).
Likewise, Zambry, seen positively by the Malays (net positive 27 per cent), was shunned by the Chinese (net negative 34 per cent).
Former Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin and Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, in contrast, were more popular with the Chinese but scored net positives with Malay voters as well.
Nizar, who was removed from his post during the 2009 Perak constitutional crisis, received net positive approval ratings of six and 18 points from Malay and Chinese voters respectively.
Khalid’s support among Malays was a touch lower at net positive three points but relatively higher among the Chinese at net positive 22 points.
The survey, released to PKR last month, was conducted between August 22 and September 15 and polled 1,000 voters in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Perak and Johor.

‘Send an army of angels to stop Umno’

A pro-PAS blogger is seeking divine intervention to stop Umno and BN from rigging the general election.
PETALING JAYA: As the polling date nears, a blogger aligned to the Islamic-based PAS is seeking divine intervention, calling on God to dispatch an army of angels to ensure that the 13th general election is not rigged.
Known by the monicker Tulang Besi, the blogger posted a prayer on his Malaysia Waves blog alongside an entry claiming that Umno is confident of recapturing Selangor since it has registered 200,000 Indonesians as voters.
The blogger, who received the information from a source, said those in the top echelons of Umno are pleased.
“Their plan to capture Selangor is running smoothly. They have given more than 200,000 identity cards to foreigners and the latter are already in the state’s electoral roll.
“So be prepared to witness the fall of Selangor in the coming general election,” he stated.
In his prayer posting entitled “Doa Semoga Allah gagalkan penipuan Umno dalam PRU-13”, Tulang Besi also called on God to punish those involved, be it the National Registration Department, Defence Ministry, Home Ministry, Immigration Department and the Election Commission.
Below is the prayer in full:
“Ya Allah, Tuhan Semesta Alam. Yang menjadikan langit dan bumi serta menggerakkan awan. Kami hamba Mu yang lemah dan daeef sujud memohon kepada Mu. Sesungguhnya Umno dan Barisan Nasional akan menipu dan berbohong dalam Pilihanraya Umum ke 13 kelak.
Ya Allah Ya tuhan kami, pohon kami semoga Kau menurunkan Bala Tentera Malaikat Mu dan mengagalkan segenap penipuan mereka ini, Ya Allah. Pastikan setiap penipuan mereka itu memakan diri mereka sendiri.
Ya Allah, ko turunkan Bala Mu pada setiap yang bertanggungjawab di atas penipuan2 ini samada mereka duduk di dalam Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara, Kementrian Pertahanan, Kementrian Dalam Negeri, Imigresen, SPR dan mana-mana lagi. Turunkan bala ke atas mereka sekiranya mereka terus menerus mahu menipu, Ya Allah.”
Rosmah targetted as well

In another development, the blogger also took a swipe at Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s wife Rosmah Mansor for discarding her Muslim headscraf after returning from performing the haj (pilgrimage to Mecca).
Tulang Besi posted two photographs depicting Rosmah wearing a tudung upon arriving in the United States but later without the headscarf when posing for a photograph with First Lady Michelle Obama.
Expressing surprise, the blogger wrote: “It has not even been a month since returning from the haj, and (she) has removed the tudung”.
“I thought that after doing the haj, there will be positive changes… how sad. You are a leader, you must show a good example and not to do things like this.”

Anwar must go for rakyat to win

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was relevant in pre-2008 Malaysian politics but in today's war, it is strategies and 'how we fight' against the BN that matters.

Sometimes we forget that Anwar Ibrahim (DSAI) was once a minister in Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s cabinet. He was one of, if not the leading, exponents of Umno politics, as we know it today bar probably Mahathir himself.

He was as good as, if not better than Daim Zainuddin, in putting together that heady mix of politics, power and money to benefit him and those that surround him.

DSAI was better at doing this than KJ (Khairy Jamaluddin), better than (Prime Minister) Najib (Tun Razak) and indeed better than Khir Toyo or any one you would care to mention within the ambit of Barisan Nasional (BN) or Umno but alas, Mahathir cast him aside once convenient allies within Umno became his sworn enemies.

DSAI has not changed. Time has imposed upon DSAI the realities of the present.

He is without real power, without real money and, by extension, without “real” friends – for in politics only money can buy you “real friends”. He must make do with what he has now.

And yet he has done well for himself.

Suffice to say that he has been able to forge a credible opposition and reached his zenith with the incredible results of the 12th general election where Pakatan Rakyat was able, for the first time, to deny BN its two-thirds majority.

He now is the leader of the opposition.

Politics in a shambles

But sadly DSAI cannot see the trees for the forest. Three years in politics at national level is a long, long time to do good or otherwise.

There is no need to go into the details but today DSAI is no longer the DSAI we know pre-12th general election.

By his own doing, the indirect benefits to Najib and Umno of having DSAI lead Pakatan Rakyat far exceeds the direct benefits that DSAI’s leadership gives to Pakatan!

And none more so than the debilitating new sodomy trial that is in its last stages of rigor mortis – for DSAI and for Najib.

Najib, too, has his credibility problems within Umno and with the people that will decide his fate at the 13th general election.

How either of them could have allowed this to be the case is a sad reflection of the state of our country’s politics and the calibre of the two leaders of the government and the opposition.

A shambles of historic proportions. DSAI for letting himself to be entrapped into a situation he should be all too familiar with, given what happened many years ago, and Najib for allowing political expediency and self-interest to overcome decency and good taste.

And if our leaders are prepared to go to these extent to try and hold on to power and what power brings to them, then how do they expect the people of whom they are leaders of, to behave?

More lies and gutter politics

What is worrying is this: our leaders and our people are now settling into an ever-lowering level of expectations of each other.

Each new day brings more gutter politics and more lies from our political leaders as they try to hold on to power.

The people desperately look for excuses and rationale to allow them to still vote for these leaders to be in power.

ABU (Anything but Umno) is a case in point. This is not about putting a responsible and accountable Pakatan into government.

ABU is about getting rid of Umno. So there is no serious scrutiny of what Pakatan offers.

What is being highlighted is the damage Umno has done to the country.

And for Umno it is not about the use of gutter politics to achieve its ends. All is good if the means justify the ends.

There are no more attempts to look at the right or wrong of doing anything: if what they do gets the results they want, then do it.

And the result they want is to stay in power!

If Pakatan wants to deny Najib and BN any inherent advantage, Pakatan needs to look beyond DSAI now.

Remove DSAI

We are not living in ancient times when generals led their armies into battles. In this war with BN, what need is there to give BN an overt target than by putting DSAI in the frontline?

Especially when that target is suspect and unable to stand up to an enemy with large armies and deep pockets?

Pakatan will not be able to match BN in money or resources.

What Pakatan has is the goodwill of many millions of Malaysians who are just as willing to consider giving their goodwill to BN if they think that Pakatan will fail to fulfil their aspirations of a good and decent government.

Just take me. After nearly three years of unquestionable support for DSAI, I no longer want him to lead Pakatan because he is not what Pakatan needs to win its war against BN.

I am still with Pakatan – this has not changed.

But what has changed is the realisation that to win the 13th general election, Pakatan needs all the help it can get – and one way it can do so is to take DSAI out of its frontline.

Pakatan leaders know better… yet

By so doing this it deprives Najib and BN of yet another focus or target to aim for in their relentless work to rid themselves of Pakatan.

I am one but increasingly this numbers grows as DSAI continually shoots himself in the foot through his own folly.

But first the leadership structure within BN and Pakatan must be held accountable for allowing their leaders to behave so.

Pakatan must be held more responsible (for its actions) than Umno because the former should have known better.

Karpal Singh, (Lim) Kit Siang, (Lim) Guan Eng, (Abdul) Hadi Awang and Tok Guru (Nik Aziz) should have known better because they had front row seats to the show that Umno had put on for the last 50 over years.

They went head to head with DSAI when he was a senior member of Mahathir’s government. They know better than us what DSAI did when he was education minister, finance minister and deputy prime minister.

And they, more than us, were at the receiving end of a BN government that tolerated no dissent and allowed less opportunity for them to make any difference to the political landscape of our country then and now.

And yet Kit Siang and Tok Guru are now adopting a “wait-and-see” strategy to the trials and tribulations of a DSAI and Najib face-off.

They do so because they think that this is the best possible strategy they could adopt for now.

I am sorry but I beg to differ.

Misplaced ‘wisdom’ in keeing DSAI

The benefit to Najib and BN of having DSAI as leader of Pakatan cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely.

Even now BN is reaping the benefits of having DSAI tied up endlessly in courts on this sodomy trial.

We, who are with Pakatan and we who are committed to ABU (Anything But Umno), are now questioning the wisdom of Pakatan’s “loyalty” to DSAI.

Is this a loyalty born out of decades of struggle against a common adversary or is this a “loyalty” born out of the fear to upset a delicate status quo and a misplaced belief that Pakatan cannot survive without DSAI – the compromised Malay perceived to be needed by Pakatan for victory at the coming general election?

Whatever their rationale for not doing anything to prepare themselves for a time after DSAI, what is real is that Pakatan has now surrendered the higher ground to BN.

It is indeed disturbing to see Pakatan now reduced to hurling inconsequential barbs and irrelevant arguments about BN using gutter politics and the entire arsenal at its disposal to neutralise a clear and present threat in the form of DSAI to themselves.

Do you expect Najib to do anything less?

I ask that Pakatan do not act after a fact. Pakatan must act before the fact. Take the fight to Najib and to BN. Present them with a fait accompli.

Go tell Najib that he removes DSAI from our midst only at his peril because what we have in place of DSAI is more formidable for him to contend with – then maybe Pakatan might have the respite needed to regroup and refocus its commitment to change.

Anwar can no longer be king

Remove all doubts from our minds that Pakatan cannot be the change that we all want for our people and our country.

Do this and then the ABU maxim will certainly take root. And then we will have again that tsunami that swept our Pakatan into being a serious and credible opposition to BN in the 12th general election.

Do it now before the tide ebbs and Pakatan’s opportunity passes.

To wait any longer will give too much advantage to Najib and BN – maybe too much advantage to take back once the real fight of the 13th general election begins in earnest.

There is enough goodwill within the people of our country to enable Pakatan to fight the good fight against BN in the coming general election.

I wonder if there is enough heart within Pakatan’s leaders to fight the good fight against BN.

There are many amongs us that will fight with you if you will take the lead.

Not to do so will mean that the seed that DSAI planted many years ago with Reformasi will not be given the opportunity to grow to its full potential.

DSAI was relevant then, he is relevant now – what has changed is how we fight out fight against BN.

DSAI can no longer be king but he can certainly be kingmaker. He is one, with us, he is many.

Who else will join us?

CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.

Pembinaan Kompleks Aman Central di atas tapak madrasah mendapat persetujuan dari Maik dan Majlis Fatwa negeri.

Pembinaan Kompleks Aman Central di atas tapak madrasah mendapat persetujuan dari Maik dan Majlis Fatwa negeri.

PETALING JAYA: Madrasah Solihiah yang terletak di atas sebidang tanah wakaf di Kanchut didapati tidak lagi mempunyai qariah dan ia akan diganti dengan projek yang lebih bermanfaat kepada masyarakat sekitar kawasan terbabit.

Selain itu, penyelidikan kerajaan negeri juga mendapati madrasah tersebut ketika ini hanya digunakan oleh beberapa pekerja di syarikat berdekatan untuk bersembahyang Zohor dan Asar sahaja.

“Dia begini, surau ni kita pun dah kaji, dulu surau ni memanglah kawasan perkampungan, tetapi sekarang dah tak ada orang dah.

Surau itu dia dah tak ada qariahnya, kalau dulu-dulu adalah qariahnya, tetapi sekarang dah tak ada kampung sebab penduduk dah berhijrah.

“Sekarang orang yang bersembahyang di situ cuma pekerja di syarikat takaful yang pejabatnya dekat situ. Yang ada orang bersembahyang jemaah di situ hanyalah waktu Zohor dan Asar sahaja, itu pun dua orang sahaja.

“kita ada datang ambil gambar dan tengok Maghrib tak ada orang, Isyak tak ada, Subuh pun tak ada,” demikian menurut Menteri Besar Kedah, Datuk Seri Azizan Abd Razak.

Kompleks Aman Central

Beliau turut memberitahu, pembinaan Kompleks Aman Central di atas tapak madrasah berkenaan telah pun mendapat persetujuan daripada Majlis Agama Islam Kedah (Maik) dan Majlis Fatwa negeri itu dan pampasan bernilai RM1.48 juta telah pun dibayar kepada Maik.

“Jawatankuasa Majlis Fatwa sendiri yang meminta supaya surau ini dibina dalam kompleks berkenaan dengan imej surau yang boleh dilihat dari luar.

“Kalau kita salah, takkan Majlis Agama nak terima duit pampasan. Majlis Agama agensi yang bertanggungjawab atas semua tanah masjid, wakaf. Dia dah terima pampasan RM1.48 juta dan maknanya dia dah setuju, Majlis Fatwa kata okey.

“Majlis Fatwa dah bagi dia punya ‘consent’ tetapi tak tahu la pulak fatwa lain mana pula yang baru keluar dari tepi jalan ni,” kata beliau dipercayai menyentuh protes yang dilakukan oleh beberapa pihak dalam isu ini.

Azizan memberitahu wartawan dalam Majlis Pecah Tanah Aman Central di Kanchut, Kedah semalam, surau yang akan dibina itu boleh memuatkan seramai 400 jemaah dalam satu masa dan sembahyang Jumaat boleh diadakan di situ.

“Kita nampak ini akan menolong orang Islam lagi dengan bila datang beli barang, tak payah tergesa-gesa, boleh pergi sembahyang dengan keluarga dia.

“Surau baru ni luasnya 2,600 kaki persegi, boleh isi 400 jemaah, boleh buat sembahyang Jumaat kecuali kalau roboh tak buat apa, tak ada kemudahan apa,” katanya.

Surau yang akan dibina di kompleks membeli belah itu juga akan dibina bagi membolehkan orang ramai memasuki surau itu tanpa perlu memasuki bangunan utama kompleks berkenaan.

“Kalau ikut pelan asal dari pihak pemaju, surau ni dibina di tingkat tiga seperti juga kompleks beli belah yang lain.

“Tetapi atas permintaan Jawatankuasa Fatwa semasa kita buat penerangan, mereka minta supaya dibuat di bangunan yang sama tetapi di tingkat bawah dan dari luar nampak bentuk, imej sebagai surau.

“Jadi maknyanya kita tak perlu masuk membeli-belah untuk pergi sembahyang situ (kerana) sambil-sambil pergi jalan di luar tu, boleh nampak, boleh masuk walaupun daripada luar pun terus boleh masuk,” menurut beliau lagi.

Menurut Azizan, menggunakan tanah wakaf dan menggantikannya kepada sesuatu yang lebih bermanfaat bukanlah suatu perkara yang baru dan ianya dibolehkan.

“Konsep wakaf ni, kalau kita tukar ia kepada yang lebih baik, maka ia dibenarkan, tak tahulah saya kalau ada yang baca kitab yang lain.

“Banyak tempat termasuk di Arab Saudi, berapa jauh di Mekah ada tanah wakaf dibina surau dalam kompleks tetapi di Mekah tak jadi isu dan kalau salah tentu Majlis Fatwa tak benar,” ujar beliau lagi.

Election Commission to ‘follow the law’ on voting rights

The Star

PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission (EC) will act based on the law on the issue of voting rights, its deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said.

He was referring to a High Court decision yesterday, where six Malaysians in Britain were granted leave for an application to compel the EC to register them as absent voters in the next general election.

Wan Ahmad said: “As far as the commission is concerned, we work based on the law.

“So the question of pressure on the commission should not arise at all,” Wan Ahmad told The Star in a telephone interview.

While the commission would await the court hearing on the matter, Wan Ahmad warned the six applicants of the implications of their suit, pointing out that these included the logistical costs to facilitate voting abroad, which would be borne by public funds.

Under the existing law, only civil servants, members of the armed forces and their spouses as well as students overseas are allowed to vote through the post.

“Malaysians are located all over the world and their votes can be for any of the hundreds of constituencies.

“Wisma Putra sources have also told us that not all Malaysians overseas have registered their addresses abroad with local embassies.

“The country must be prepared for these costs if such a law (for Malaysians to vote from abroad) is passed,” he said.

In their suit, the six applicants wanted Malaysians staying abroad to be entitled to vote as absent voters and directed the EC, named as the sole respondent, to register them.

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Rohana Yusuf has set Dec 13 for case management and Jan 3 for the hearing.

Hishammuddin: Police finished probe on SM, AG next to act

ImageThe Sun Daily

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 14, 2011): Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said police has completed their probe into the banned ‘Seksualiti Merdeka’ event.

He said the investigation papers will be submitted to the Attorney-General's (AG) Chambers to decide on the next course of action.

“We have recorded statements from witnesses and individuals behind the programme and the investigation papers are complete,” Hishammuddin told reporters after officiating at the Police, Police chiefs, Commanders and Commandants Conference at the Royal Malaysian Police College in Cheras here, today.

“It will depend on the AG whether to proceed with meting charges or not,” he said.

The controversial sexuality rights festival was banned by police in view of public sentiment and complaints against it.

Police also issued a strong warning against those who defied the directive.

Former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan who was supposed to have launched the event, was among those who had their statements recorded by police for her involvement.

Police banned the programme in view of the law in the country that does not recognise any deviationist activity that could destroy the practice of religious freedom.

The programme, an annual sexuality rights festival celebrating human rights of people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity, was slammed by various non-governmental organisations – Islamic and non-Islamic.

It was feared that the programme could create disharmony, enmity and disturb public order.

A coalition of NGOs, artistes, activists and individuals has been organising the event since 2008.

On another matter, Hishammuddin said severe action will be taken against policemen who commit offences and tarnish the image of the force, with reference to an incident last week in Johor Baru where nine policemen were detained for being involved in an extortion case.

He said the policemen, aged between 20 and 35, will be charged in court soon, pending the completion of investigations.

“We will not tolerate such action from our policemen,” he said, adding that bad hats within the force represent a very small number but their actions could tarnish the reputation of the entire police force.

The suspects were detained in the Plentong area by a team of officers from the Johor Baru Utara district police headquarters following a complaint. They have been since remanded for investigations under Section 384 of the Penal Code for extortion.

Saudi woman to be flogged for driving car

A Saudi court has ordered the flogging of a local woman 10 times for driving a car in defiance of a long-standing ban in the Kingdom, a newspaper reported on Monday.

Shaima Jastaniya said the court in the western Red Sea port of Jeddah had issued what she described as a “Sharia sentence” ordering her lashing for violating the ban on female driving.

“I received a copy of this sentence on Saturday. I now need to consult my lawyer after what happened to me,” she said, quoted by the London-based Saudi Arabic language daily Alhayat.

The paper said the sentence could be carried out within a month, adding that Shaima, who was caught driving in Jeddah in Summer, can appeal. It did not mention Shaima’s age.

Two injured as motorcyclists open fire

JOHOR BARU: A group of motorcyclists fired shots at three men who were walking near their flat at Pasir Gudang, near here, hitting two of them.

“It all happened so fast. I heard loud bangs and then saw my bro-ther and his friend lying on the road,” said S. Visvam, 27, who was unscathed.

His brother S. Alayarajam, 25, was hit in the left leg while a shot grazed the forehead of their friend T. Tamil Arasu, 19.

They were given outpatient treatment at the Sultan Ismail Hospital.

Lean on me: Alayarajam’s family members assisting him after he was shot near his home at Taman Kota Masai in Pasir Gudang, Johor, yesterday.
Visvam said they were taking a walk at Taman Kota Masai when the incident occurred at about 12.30pm yesterday.

Four men on motorcycles, said to be armed with parang, rushed at them and fired several shots.
Visvam claimed that one of the attackers was a former neighbour in Masai, adding that a group of four parang-wielding men had attacked him last year.

“I was lucky to survive then,” he told newsmen at the scene yesterday. He believed that they were the same people involved in the shooting incident.

Seri Alam OCPD Supt Roslan Zainuddin said police were investigating the case.

Khairy got it wrong, say groups

Commenting on the Umno Youth chief's call for a new social contract, several groups argue that affirmative actions should be timeless but needs-based. They also defend vernacular schools.

PETALING JAYA: There is no need for a timeline for affirmative action policies but it should be re-designed to become a needs-based policy rather than skewed to benefit a certain few, said several groups.

Last week, Umno Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin called upon Malaysians to design a new social contract to forge ties among Malaysians who have become polarised over the years.

Among others, he called for affirmative action policies to have a clear timeline and to replace them with a meritocracy system after their shelf life.

The Rembau MP also called for a single school system, with Tamil and Mandarin being offered in national schools.

Tamil Foundation president S Pasupathi said Khairy should understand that the rootcause of disunity in the country is not the affirmative action policy itself but more of its implementation.

“Although the New Economic Policy (NEP) is designed to help the Malays, currently only Umnoputras benefit from it,” he said, referring to those alligned to the ruling party.

On arguments that the Malays are still lagging behind in terms of economic muscle, Pasupathi said a needs-based policy will ultimately benefit the community.

“If the Malays are poor, they will benefit from it. Nobody wants to see the Malays being poor and we want them to be successful as well,” he said.

Touching on vernacular schools, Pasupathi challenged Khairy to prove that mother tongue education is causing disunity among Malaysians.

“Why do we want to abolish a system that has promoted growth and unity all this while? If vernacular schools are divisive, then why are there about 30,000 Malay students studying in Chinese schools?” he asked.

He also said that mother tongue education is important in a child’s formative years and most vernacular schools teach their students to respect the diversity that exists in Malaysia.

“The mother tongue is the soul of our community. Remember the adage ‘Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa’ (language, the soul of the community),” he added.

Over dependence is bad

Federation of Chinese Associations of Malaysia (Hua Zong) deputy secretary-general Chin Yew Sin said even developed nations have affirmative action policies directed to assist those marginalised in their nations.

“But the stark difference is that they are designed to help all who are poor, irrespective of their racial backgrounds,” he told FMT.

The situation, Chin said, proves that no matter how much a nation progresses, there will be some marginalised groups that need to be assisted and therefore, the policy should be timeless.

However, he cautioned that too much dependence on government assistance will render a community incapable of facing the challenges in a globalised world.

Touching on the Malay community, Chin said the community has come to understand the negative effects of being too dependent in the long run.

“It’s like our children as well. If we keep protecting them, they will not be able to face life’s challenges. Similarly if you give the same amount of protection to the Chinese and Indians, we will also be affected badly,” he added.

On mother tongue education, Chin reminded Khairy that the rights of the vernacular schools are guaranteed by Article 152 of the Federal Constitution.

He also said that offering Tamil and Mandarin in national schools as subjects will only serve to teach the languages as a communication language.

“But in vernacular schools, it’s not only about the language but students learn the culture of the community as well. For some reason, the government fails to understand this,” he said.

Natives are deprived
Borneo Resources Institute (Brimas) executive director Mark Bujang also agreed that affirmative action should be designed to help all who are poor irrespective of race.

Citing Sabah and Sarawak as examples, he said the natives in the states are deprived economically despite being categorised as bumiputeras.

“For employment opportunities reserved for bumiputeras, ultimately it’s the Malays who get the lion’s share,” said Bujang who sees no problem in retaining vernacular schools as long as they follow the national curriculum.

Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC) coordinator Colin Nicholas also agreed that affirmative action should be timeless and needs-based.

He also said that having a single school system will not necessarily equate to national unity.

“Whatever stream you are in, just ensure you instil national unity as its core value. Everyone seems to have forgotten unity in diversity,” he said.

However, Nicholas pointed out that indigenous communities are the most underprivileged even when it comes to education.

He explained that although there are some references to the Orang Asli community and their tradition in the past school syllabus, it is virtually non-existent in today’s curriculum.

“You may ask a student what is a LRT (Light Rail Transit) or MRT (My Rapid Transit) and they will be able to answer but how many of them know what is a blowpipe?” he asked.

Anwar as PM: DAP is backpedalling, says MCA

Wee Ka Siong recalls Karpal Singh’s criticism of Anwar’s Sept 16 plan.

KUALA LUMPUR: MCA Youth chief Wee Ka Siong today accused DAP of backpedalling on the issue of Anwar Ibrahim becoming Prime Minister should Pakatan Rakyat wrest control of Putrajaya.

He said DAP chairman Karpal Singh went against his own stand when he recently supported the idea of giving Anwar the prime minister’s job.

He recalled that Karpal was against Anwar’s plan to take over the government through defections and in fact called for his resignation as Opposition Leader when his Sept 16 (2008) takeover plan failed.

“The recent statement released by Karpal pledging support for PKR de facto leader Anwar to be appointed as Pakatan Rakyat’s Prime Minister contradicts his own stand,” Wee said.

MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek made the same observation recently. In response, Karpal said he criticised Anwar for encouraging party hopping from BN and that this did not mean that Anwar did not deserve the prime minister’s post if Pakatan were to take over the government through legitimate means.

Wee also belittled Karpal’s opposition to PAS’s intention to institute hudud, saying it was just a ruse to retain votes.

“If hudud does not pose any impediment against Pakatan clinching the federal government, would Karpal Singh then follow the rest of DAP in its somewhat muted response against the enforcement of hudud?”

He said PAS had always ignored Karpal’s objections against hudud.

Meanwhile, MCA national organising secretary Tee Siew Kiong said DAP and PAS had opposing stands on Anwar becoming the next prime minister.

He alleged that PAS considered its president, Hadi Awang, as more qualified than Anwar to occupy the prime minister’s post.

He also noted that PAS had often disagreed publicly with Anwar.

“When Anwar said Lim Kit Siang will be appointed Deputy Prime Minister if Pakatan Rakyat takes over, PAS said Lim must be a Muslim first, causing Anwar to change his stand.”

Last week, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said Anwar would be Pakatan’s choice for Prime Minister even if he were to be found guilty of sodomy and sentenced to jail.

Palani, Nijhar quit MIED board

The MIC chief says board meetings were time-consuming and that he had too many responsibilities to handle both as party president and minister.

KUALA LUMPUR: MIC president G Palanivel today resigned as a board member of MIC’s educational arm, Maju Institute for Education Development (MIED). He confirmed this via a SMS.

“I have too many responsibilities to handle both as party president and minister. The MIED board meetings are very time-consuming.

“My job is to provide leadership to the party and the community. I think I will concentrate on this matter,” said Palanivel who did not attend the MIED’s 24th annual general meeting that was held at the Dynasty Hotel here this morning.

MIED is MIC’s educational arm that provides funds for needy Indian students and manages the party’s Asia Institute for Medicine Science and Technology (AIMST) in Kedah.

The party chief has traditionally been MIED chairman since its inception in 1984.

There were rumours that MIED chairman S Samy Vellu and Palanivel had a tiff over who should be the next chairman. Palanivel declined to comment when asked on this.

A trustee member who attended this morning’s board meeting told FMT: “The MIED legal adviser also had walked out during the board meeting this morning.

“He got fed up when a board member called him a liar,” said the member. The legal adviser is a lawyer from Selva Mookiah and Associates.

Meanwhile, KS Nijhar in an SMS told FMT that he was not seeking re-election as well to avoid conflict of interest.

“The reason for not seeking re-election is, I will be taking up a position as chairman in a public-private sector initiative project, namely a matriculation centre.”

Can I know your stand?

The 10th of December 2011 will be Human Rights Day (SEE HERE). That day will mark the 63rd Anniversary of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (SEE HERE) that was signed back in 10th December 1948. Today, I would like to talk about this issue.
Raja Petra Kamarudin

Do you know, out of these nine United Nations’ treaties (above), Malaysia has signed only two of them: (5) The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) and (7) The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Malaysia has to date not signed the other seven, which are also very crucial if we want to see our civil liberties protected.
It is apparent that the current government does not want to sign the other seven treaties. And one more thing that the Malaysian Government does not seem to honour is The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (SEE HERE)
No doubt, while the nine treaties are legally enforceable (which is why Malaysia does not want to sign them), The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not legally binding but nevertheless is considered a moral obligation.
The matter is explained in this article, Human rights: what’s stopping Malaysia? (READ MORE HERE)
I suppose it is pointless to talk to Barisan Nasional about this issue. After all, Barisan Nasional (and the Alliance Party before that) has been in power for more than 54 years and if they had wanted to do it then they would have already done it by now.
What I would like to do instead is to ask Pakatan Rakyat about its stand on this issue. What is Pakatan Rakyat’s stand? Will it sign the balance seven of these treaties if it were to come into power?
Another question would be regarding The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Will Pakatan Rakyat honour this Declaration as well?
Now, we need to know before the next general election and BEFORE we decide who to vote for, is Pakatan Rakyat going to sign the balance of these seven treaties and is it also going to honour The Universal Declaration of Human Rights? If not, then why should we vote for Pakatan Rakyat? What difference would Pakatan Rakyat be from Barisan Nasional?
We need to get this assurance from Anwar Ibrahim -- the Opposition Leader in Parliament and who Pakatan Rakyat has said will be the Prime Minister if Pakatan Rakyat gets to form the next federal government.
We do not want to hear Anwar Ibrahim’s personal opinion, like what he said about the Hudud matter. His personal opinion carries no weight in the scheme of things. We want to hear from him as the Opposition Leader and the Prime Minister-in-waiting for Pakatan Rakyat.
This is very crucial. And we should not give Pakatan Rakyat our vote if they can’t give us a guarantee that they will sign all nine of these treaties as well as honour The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And if they are not prepared to give us this guarantee, we want to know why. And we want to know why, now, before we go to the polls to vote the next government into power.
If you were to read the 30 Articles in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (SEE HERE) you will know why I am asking this and why I say this matter is very crucial. And if I need to go through each Article one-by-one to explain to you in detail, then maybe, as MCA said, you do not deserve to vote. 

Foreign Workers Welcome, But No Permanent Residents, Please

Why aren't' they working??
Asian nations relying on migrant workers must develop policies that respect human rights
East Asia’s economic growth has brought in its train large-scale migration of temporary workers from poorer to richer states.

The policies directed towards such migrants have varied from state to state, and these discrepancies have now been highlighted by a recent controversy in Hong Kong – the request by a handful of foreign domestic helpers to be granted permanent residence in Hong Kong. Whatever the outcome of their lawsuit, the request by the work-visa holders for permanent residence could have region-wide implications.

The positive aspects of temporary migration in Asia are well enough known: For the supplying countries, migrants relieve unemployment and provide a remittance stream of foreign exchange which supports consumption. For the receiving countries, such policies provide low-paid workers who do undesirable jobs, enable middle-class wives to work, and hold down manufacturing costs, helping industries remain internationally competitive – all without burdening state education and health budgets. Negatives include the breakup of families in the supplying countries and the creation of a dependency culture among remittance receivers.

There are negative economic and ethical implications for the recipient countries as well. In Hong Kong’s case, there are some 250,000 such temporary workers, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, and they constitute 7 percent of the working population. Singapore is even more reliant on this group for construction, manufacturing as well as domestic employment. Work permit holders, mostly those with low skills, are about 29 percent of the working population. Maids alone number about 200,000, or one for every five households. Indonesia is the largest source followed by Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Maids in Singapore are excluded from various protections under the Employment Act with no compulsory rest days, maximum working hours, minimum wage or termination notice, and they have no right to legal aid. Some employers use closed-circuit cameras to monitor their maids. Although violent abuse is vigorously prosecuted when reported, authorities suspect much goes unreported. Last year 2,530 Indonesian maids fled their employers and sought embassy refuge. A suggestion by a government minister that they be given a compulsory rest day was met with a howl of protest in the media. Pay averages about US$3,500 a year – at least according to a case brought by the government against maid agencies for wage fixing. Per capita GDP in Singapore is the equivalent of US$43,000.

Nor is the large-scale temporary migrant phenomenon confined to the highly developed, rich city-states. In Malaysia there are about 1.9 million legal temporary migrants and perhaps another 1 million or more “undocumented workers,” the euphemism for illegal ones. Bangladesh, as well as Indonesia and the Philippines, is a major source for Malaysian plantations, construction sites, restaurants and households. Cases of abuse are frequent with the undocumented workers particularly vulnerable. Thailand relies heavily on Burmese and Cambodians for dirty and dangerous work. As of 2009 there were 1.29 million registered workers, but the actual total could be double that. Of the registered ones, 129,000 were domestic helpers. Migrants have replaced Thais as domestic helpers in many middle-class Bangkok households. Taiwan and Japan have much less reliance on temporary foreign labor; Taiwan employs some 90,000 from the Philippines, mostly in domestic work, but the 350,000 Filipinos in Japan are mostly in entertainment-related industries.

Singapore comes nearest to having a coherent policy for non-temporary migration, mainly focused on skilled and semi-skilled candidates for permanent residence. Despite a history of using wage rises and a strong currency to boost productivity, the city-state has become increasingly reliant on temporary workers. The Philippines tries hardest to offer protection and bans workers from going to some countries. But many recipient countries are reluctant to prosecute abuses.

Hong Kong's permanent immigration is dominated by a long-established quota from the mainland of about 50,000 a year, mostly unskilled mainlanders. The program is administered by the mainland, and Hong Kong’s role is limited to issuing work permits and permanent residence rights to foreigners and renewable two-year contracts for domestic helpers. Malaysia and Thailand have policies on temporary migration, but enforcement is largely ineffective, exposing workers, legal or not, to widespread abuse. Some temporary migrants, mostly Indonesians in Peninsula Malaysia and from the Muslim Filipinos in east Malaysia, have in time become permanent residents.

Implications of this foreign-labor influx are no minor matter. Everywhere these pools of cheap, expendable workers, mostly without families, boost both the per capita gross domestic product of permanent residents. However, ready access to temporary migrants depresses wages for unskilled local workers. As it is now, migrant laborers in Hong Kong do domestic work while locals sweep the streets or are unemployed. Access to cheap domestic help also provides standard-of-living benefits for those who can afford it. Thus, policies allowing temporary workers widen income gaps that even governments admit are a social concern. Hong Kong has the worst income distribution in the developed world, Singapore is not far behind, and inequality in Malaysia and Thailand is approaching Latin American levels. Access to live-in maids, as evidence from Hong Kong and Singapore shows, does little to raise low fertility rates of the more educated classes.

In the case of Malaysia and Thailand, low-cost, expendable foreign labor is a disincentive to investment in productivity, contributing to the nations getting stuck in the low- growth “middle income trap.” As for Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh and other supply nations, their provision of cheap labor to neighbors cannot be beneficial if it inhibits the development of their own export industries and regional trade.

Cheap temporary labor, lacking in rights, can have an eroding effect on social ethics in recipient countries. Even in Hong Kong, an administration with a poor record on matters of discrimination, fails to vigorously enforce laws on minimum wage or work conditions. The domestic helpers are relatively fortunate in having access to the courts, but still face anti-migrant invectives. In Singapore, helpers are largely reliant on the goodwill of employers for days off and freedom of movement. In Malaysia, horror stories of mistreatment of maids are frequently reported – and far more often doubtless go unreported.

Demographic changes in East Asia suggest that labor mobility will continue to grow. That makes it imperative that states have coherent, non-racial policies for temporary and permanent migrants which reflect overall economic benefit and the capacity of societies to absorb newcomers. Policies can only be reached and accepted by the public if there are open discussions based on facts and on the recognition that there are human-rights obligations to temporary migrants. Governments that fail to provide all residents with equal legal rights and protections from abuse or surrender to crude anti-migrant scare-mongering are eroding their own social bonds and respect for the law. This cannot be good for stability, which has underwritten the region’s remarkable progress.

(Philip Bowring is a former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review and one of the founders of Asia Sentinel. This originally appeared in YaleGlobal, the magazine of the Yale University Center for the Study of Globalization.)

An Asian Solution for Dismantling the Euro

Could the answer be along these lines?
And it doesn’t involve blowing up Europe
Could the Eurozone be dismantled in such a way as to deal with the immediate problems, while preserving as many of the benefits as possible? The answer may lie in Asia, where government officials in Hong Kong confronted a crisis nearly 30 years ago that may contain the seeds of the solution.

First, it must be stressed that although the potential benefits of the Eurozone are currently dwarfed by the imminence of its catastrophic failure, the euro project wasn't begotten purely to cause financial mayhem, or to further the sinister Europa-building fantasies of the EU's visionaries. There is much to be said not just for a single market, but also for stable and predictable currencies within that single market.

More, there is a great deal to be said for a conservatively German view of banking and central banking (though, in extremis, even some quite eminent German economists plainly don't understand the day-to-day back-office mechanics of what a central bank does). And there is also plainly merit in ensuring democratically elected governments are not cocooned from the discipline of the markets.

What little work to have been done on a breakup of the Eurozone assumes that all these benefits must be lost or foregone throughout the whole of Europe if the Eurozone breaks up. The locus classicus so far is a research paper by published in September by UBS, which warned that the consequences of a weak country leaving the euro would include sovereign default, corporate default, collapse of the banking system and collapse of international trade. The paper estimated a weak euro country leaving the common currency would incur a cost of €9,500-11,500 per person during the first year, with a further €3,000-4,000 per person per year over subsequent years.

Mind you, it would be no picnic for the Germans, either, if they left the Eurozone: €6,000-8,000 for every German adult and child in the first year, and a range of €3,500 to 4,500 per person per year thereafter. That's the equivalent of 20-25 percent of gross domestic product lost in the first year!

I have three comments to make on this. First, we're in 'spurious accuracy,' or 'magical realism' territory as far as the forecasts are concerned. Second, since the paper was unable to envisage how – short of a sort of confetti-producing monetary free-for-all – an exit might be achieved, the authors were free to color in their favorite shade of lurid in all possible ways, economic, financial and political. Third, and notwithstanding these shortcomings, UBS is at least to be congratulated on having the balls to broach the subject at all – even if in the end it did little more than scaremonger.

The key to finding a solution is to understand very clearly what the underlying problem is. Italy's case makes this absolutely crystal clear: Berlusconi may not be your cup of espresso, but it is simply not true that he ran a regime of exceptional fiscal indulgence. During 2001-2007, Italy's fiscal deficit averaged 3.2 percent of GDP, which is hardly deeply differentiated from France's 2.9 percent average, or even Germany's 2.7 percent.

Since 2008, Italy's deficit has averaged 4.9 percent of GDP, which is frankly conservative compared to France's 7.3 percent (though Germany confined itself to 3.8 percent). If moralizing of all sorts can be temporarily adjourned, it's plainly not Italy's current fiscal policies the market cannot stomach. Nor is it the debt burden, which, at around 120 percent, is only slightly higher than the average since 1995 of 111 percent. What really kills is the absolutely correct perception that whilst it has the euro as a currency, Italy will never be able to grow sufficiently fast to contain its debt burden.

So what we are looking for is a way to ensure that when a country exits the Eurozone, it will both be in a position to grow, while at the same time retaining the financial and fiscal disciplines encouraged membership of the Eurozone. And, quite obviously, whatever exit route is achieved, it must also be built to re-win financial stability and confidence at the earliest possible opportunity.

Put in these terms, the solution is obvious. Currencies can and should exit the euro by first redenominating all domestic assets and liabilities of the banking system in the new currency, and also redenominating all external government debt in the new currency, while at the same time committing to fully servicing the debt in the new currency. But second, and crucially, it should at the same time announce a currency-board arrangement which pegs the new currency to the euro, and dissolve the national central bank at the same time.

For those who've spent time in Hong Kong, this solution will seem obvious. But, strangely, I've never heard it mentioned as a possibility. In 1983, with its currency plummeting in the face of the realization that the Communists would take the colony back from the British in 1997, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the territory’s de facto central bank, pegged the Hong Kong dollar to the US dollar and established a currency board to ensure that the then-British colony’s entire monetary base was backed with US dollars at the linked exchange rate. It remains a highly successful move. Today, the Hong Kong dollar is the eight-most-widely traded currency in the world.

A currency board is simplicity itself. Its founding principal is that for every unit of the new currency to be issued (let's call it the New Lira), the note-issuing institution must deposit the full stated amount of the currency to which it is pegged, with the currency board. If the New Lira currency board is declared at 60 Eurocents, if the note-issuing body is a private bank (and why not?), it is obliged to lodge 60 Eurocents with the currency board.

The currency board accumulates the interest on that deposit, while the bank makes its money from the New Lira financial asset it subsequently creates/sells. Crucially, there is no central bank to intervene in money markets, which means that banks must carefully monitor the daily net clearing balance of the banking system.

If the net clearing balance is negative, the rise in interest rates would persuade a bank somehow to scrape together the euros needed to print more money in order to rectify the imbalance. Conversely, if the net clearing balance is positive, one would expect interest rates to shrink, at which point banks may (or may not) find it profitable to redeem the New Lira for euros.

Clearly a currency board subcontracts the monetary policy of the country to the monetary policy of the Eurozone, and so also patrols the fiscal possibilities of that country to the underlying cash flows (and eventually capital flows) of the private economy operating within that monetary policy. Sometimes, such as in Hong Kong, this is seen as introducing a degree of monetary arbitrariness: at the fringes of the Eurozone, however, such linkage is entirely justifiable, and desirable on both sides of the monetary border.

In other words, establishing a currency board allows the absolutely necessary currency re-set as a precondition for renewed growth, while reinforcing the medium and long-term financial disciplines which the Eurozone's architects and current members profess to value.

And what of those left holding suddenly devalued New Lira government bonds? Well, here the news is actually rather good: assuming that at the time of the declaration of the currency board, the euro-denominated government bonds are trading at a deep discount to face value, the instantaneous re-establishment not only of monetary discipline but also the new prospect of renewed growth in the medium to longer term will surely result in the yields on those bonds falling in the short-to-medium term. (Since, after all, lack of growth was the problem, and constant monetary indiscipline the fear.)

In those circumstances, one might expect to find buyers even of Greek debt at 25 percent. In short, what a bank lost immediately on the currency could be expected to be made up in the short-to-medium term on capital gains as bond yields return to 'normal'. Even French banks might survive.

At what level should the currency boards be declared? Without doing detailed work, plainly the depreciation needs to be sufficient to give an assurance that growth is possible. In the end, one should avoid spurious accuracy. The legend is that John Greenwood, who when devising the (highly successful) Hong Kong currency board in 1983, carefully worked out that the correct value should be eight HK$ to one 1 US$. His calculations were rejected out of hand by Sir Edward Youde, the governor, as quite implausibly lucky (or so I am told), since 8 is the luckiest number in Cantonese numerology. The Cantonese would simply never believe it. So he altered the valuation to 7.8 where it has stayed.

Lord Woolfson has offered a prize of £250,000 for anyone explaining how to dismantle the Eurozone painlessly. Feel free to forward this to him.
Michael Taylor is the head of the UK-based Coldwater Economics and a longtime Asia expert

Gani Patail’s Deep Involvement In Latest Anwar Ibrahim Police Probe Is Confirmed

Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein Onn announced today that the investigation papers in the latest police probe against Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been submitted to the Atttorney General. The probe is the newest in a series of politically motivated police and prosecutorial actions launched against Anwar Ibrahim since 1998, with the complicity of UMNO, A-G Gani Patail and the top police leadership. This time Anwar is being investigated for supposedly giving false information to the police. Hishamuddin’s statement is surprising, disturbing and suspicious. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is only scheduled to give a statement to the police on this matter on Wednesday 16th November 2011; yet it seems the papers had already been submitted to the Attorney General. This development confirms the deep involvement of the A-G Tan Sri Gani Patail in this latest police investigation against the Federal opposition leader.
Serious allegations of Gani Patail’s involvement in fabricating evidence in the first sodomy trial and the ‘black-eye’ investigation have yet to be resolved or answered. Further, Gani Patail’s animosity towards the political opposition in general and biasness in favour of the BN government is a matter of public knowledge. It should be noted that widespread public concern on this matter had forced former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in July 2008 to order that A-G Gani Patail have no direct involvement in the second sodomy trial. What is clear is that Anwar can have no hope of fairness or justice in this latest police action against him. This relentless and disgraceful hounding, harassment and intimidation of Anwar Ibrahim must stop; the BN government must realise that the people of this country and the global community are watching and judging their actions.
Issued by,

APEC Leaders Taken Up By NEM's Impact As Game Changer, Says Najib

From Mikhail Raj Abdullah HONOLULU, Nov 14 (Bernama) - Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders were taken up by the New Economic Model (NEM), which has emerged as a "game changer" to Malaysia's economy, especially in generating increased foreign investments to the tune of US$60 billion and creating 40,000 job opportunities rather quickly.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in interventions with regional leaders during the APEC Summit here Sunday, said they showed keen interest in Malaysia's novel and holistic approach towards economic reforms which differed from their own countries.

"Other countries make reforms in their respective bureaucracy, but we make reforms as part of a bigger vision based on the NEM and we have long-term planning for 10 years," he said when commenting on the achievements of the APEC 2011, which ended Sunday.

Malaysia has detailed economic development programmes, said Najib, who is also Finance Minister.

"Though other countries introduce reforms, the reforms have no links with a comprehensive vision like what we have in Malaysia," he said.

In presenting Malaysia's case study, he said: "Our long-term vision is based on our mission to transform Malaysia into a developed and a high-income nation.

"...and I explain that we enacted the New Economic Model as a game changer that will lead us to realise our nation's vision through the Economic Transformation Programme and Strategic Reform Initiatives (SRIs) under which private sector programmes provide positive feedback if we provide opportunities via the National Key Reasult Areas (NKEAs)," he said.

Najib said internal reforms implemented by PEMUDAH and PEMANDU led to "convergence of ideas between the public and private sectors."

Changes to structural regulations and reduction in bureaucratic procedures also led to improved Malaysia's World Bank ranking from 26th to 21st two years ago and to 18th currently, he said.

Najib said leaders attending the 19th APEC Summit here themed "Economic Growth and Increasing Employment" stressed it was important that "we as a region, find an approach and work towards continuously expanding the Asia-Pacific economy, among others, through increased trade and investment via the liberalisation policy and establishing free trade areas (FTAs) under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being negotiated now."

He said APEC member countries should also introduce reforms, including internal changes and avoid obstacles to the private sector and to businesses, which would delay or become an hindrance to their economic growth.

Najib said despite the rather gloomy outlook given the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, the APEC Summit chaired by US President Barack Obama was a success in that "the spirit of cooperation among leaders gives us some hope that Asia-Pacific can still be an area of growth."

"But we have been reminded that we cannot isolate the problems in Europe because if it deteriorates, it will certainly affect the whole world," he said.

The Prime Minister said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) hesd Christine Laggard, in her presentation to APEC leaders, explained that the IMF had slashed its growth forecast for the global economy this year to four per cent.

"Nonetheless, there are still big downside risks if the sovereign debt crisis is not handled wisely by the European countries," he said.

Later that day, Najib and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, hosted a dinner for more than 300 guests, who included the Malaysian community and students in Hawaii, officials from the East-West Center and more than 20 peace corps volunteers who served Malaysia during its formative years in the early 60s.

Najib and Rosmah left for Malaysia at 12.05am Monday from the Hickham Air Force Base on a private aircraft.


Kerajaan Barisan Nasional terus ditekan supaya membuat pertimbangan serius dalam merealisasikan tuntutan pilihanraya bersih dan adil.
Setakat ini, kerajaan melalui agensi SPR dilihat masih tidak membuat apa-apa pendekatan awal untuk baik-pulih sistem pilihanraya terutamanya dalam aspek tuntutan yang tidak memerlukan perubahan akta seperti penggunaan dakwat kekal.
Malah timbul pelbagai spekulasi negetif terhadap SPR dan JPN dalam isu kewarganegaraan segera untuk membenarkan warga asing mengundi dan juga spekulasi memanjangkan penggunaan undi pos kepada anggota RELA dan penjawat awam selain polis dan tentera. Ini sama sekali bukan satu usaha baik-pulih sistem pilihanraya tetapi melacur sistem pilihanraya demi untuk terus berkuasa. Ia tidak selari dengan usaha merealisasi tuntutan BERSIH 2.0.
Justeru itu, BERSIH 3.0 sedia dilancarkan bila-bila masa dari sekarang demi memastikan BN benar-benar menunaikan janjinya terlebih dahulu sebelum membubarkan parlimen. Tarikhnya sudah dipilih dan akan diumumkan dalam masa terdekat.
BERSIH 3.0 yang bakal dilancarkan ini juga bertujuan untuk memberi kata dua kepada Perdana Menteri samada lakukan perubahan sistem pilihanraya terlebih dahulu sebelum PRU13 atau berdepan dengan satu lagi perhimpunan protes rakyat terbesar dalam sejarah.
BERSIH 3.0 akan turut memantau perjalanan PSC supaya ia tidak dilengah-lengahkan dengan sengaja di atas muslihat tertentu dan penetapan tarikh BERSIH 3.0 selari dengan peluang yang diberi kepada kerajaan untuk buktikan penambah-baikkan sistem pilihanraya melalui PSC.
Seandainya apabila tiba masanya kerajaan terus berdolak-dalik dalam soal tuntutan BERSIH sebelum ini, BERSIH 3.0 ketika itu sudah bersedia dengan mobilisasi besar dan Kuala Lumpur bakal sekali lagi dipenuhi lautan rakyat tidak kira apa warna kulitnya dan apa jua warna bajunya.
Harus diingat, setiap mereka yang turun pada 709 akan tetap hadir lagi sekali apabila menyedari tiada apa yang boleh menghalang 120ribu rakyat berhimpun di Kuala Lumpur pada tanggal 9 Julai lalu. Mereka yang tidak sempat hadir pada BERSIH 2.0 juga akan turun bersama apabila menyedari demi demokrasi, tiada apa yang perlu ditakuti.
Berapa ratus ribu yang akan turun dalam BERSIH 3.0 bukan soalnya lagi. Kerana kali ini semua yang hadir turut bersedia untuk dicekup dan ditangkap, memandangkan makanan yang disediakan adalah RM25 sekepala. Pihak berwajib perlu sediakan kem yang lebih besar kerana rakyat yang hadir kali ini semuanya lapar... Lapar demokrasi!
Edyes dengan ini, menyatakan tahap sedia bukan sahaja untuk turun berdemonstrasi secara aman, tetapi bersedia untuk ditangkap dengan syarat, sediakan makan minum secukupnya kerana ramai akan bersama saya untuk ditangkap dan kemudian dibenarkan makan percuma.
BERSIH 3.0 akan membuka tirainya bila-bila masa dari sekarang. Tarikhnya akan diumum sebagai amaran bagi pihak kerajaan supaya serius melaksana reformasi pilihanraya.
Jangan sekali-kali 'under-estimate' kekuatan rakyat. Kami sudah buktikan rakyat kuat di BERSIH 2.0 dan kami tiada masalah untuk buktikannya semula dalam BERSIH 3.0.

RM5-8bn Penang tunnel: Another controversial swap deal

The Penang government plans to hand over more super-prime sea-front land to corporations as part of a swap deal to finance the controversial proposed RM5-8bn 6.5km tunnel from Gurney Drive to Bagan Ajam.
The state government has to clarify why it is going ahead with the tunnel project when the Penang Transport Masterplan is not yet ready. This is clearly at odds with the global trend towards public transport in the face of limited reserves of fossil fuels worldwide and global warming/climate change.
The Penang government must also clarify whether it will be in compliance with provisions in the National Land Code that state that foreshore land should be on a leasehold basis not exceeding 99 years.
And it must tell us exactly which land it plans to surrender to the tunnel builder, and if it is going to be reclaimed land, where that land will be located. How much land and where in Gurney Drive? And at what valuation – when that valuation could triple in a short space of time, as reported. Is the state/public interest going to end up the loser again by handing over more super-prime land to the big corporations?
It looks as if it is not only BN leaders who have a ‘mega-project’ mentality and who want to leave their legacy (of congestion) for future generations to ‘enjoy’.
The Star report:
KUALA LUMPUR: The Penang government has proposed the construction of a third link – a 6.5km underground tunnel from the mainland to Butterworth.
The tunnel is one of four projects announced by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng here to resolve the island’s severe traffic problems.
“We estimate that the project will cost RM5bil to RM8bil depending on the bids from prospective contractors,” he told a press conference Monday.
Lim said the state government will pay the contractors via a land swap deal. The land is located in the Gurney Drive tourist belt.
“It will be a win-win situation. The government does not have to pay money and the contractor gets prime land that will triple in value,” he said.
The tender process is expected to start on Nov 15.
Lim explained that the project would undergo a lengthy feasibility study and expects construction to commence in 2015.
“We target the completion to be in 2020, although it can be completed earlier,” said the first term Chief Minister.