Welcoming the budget, themed Welfare for the Rakyat, Well-Being of the Nation, MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek called it a very timely and appropriate blueprint in view of the rising costs of living worldwide.
We need to improve our public delivery system so that the country can be more competitive. Hence, changes in remuneration and recruitment including an exit policy for low performers are needed, he said.
While praising many of the budgets provisions, Chua said the RM2 billion for syariah-compliant SME Financing Fund, and the RM100 million SME Revitalisation Fund offering loans up to a maximum of RM1 million for entrepreneurs were grossly inadequate.
However, he said it was a positive measure to keep the industry vibrant.
Although the world economy is not in a good shape due to the debt crisis and financial instability, with the governments Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) in place, we are confident that we may still achieve economic growth of 5% to 5.5% next year, said Chua, a former health minister.
He said that MCA is convinced that the government can achieve its plan to reduce the deficit from 5.4% to 4.7% of the gross domestic product (GDP) next year.
To stimulate the economy, the government should encourage more private and public investments (PPI) and we are optimistic that the PPI can be increased by 15.9% (private investment) and 7% (public investment) supported by foreign investment, the ETP and the 10th Malaysia Plan, said Chua.
He added that MCA is happy that the allocation of RM33.2 billion for all subsidies, incentives and assistance ! will be continued as this would help combat inflation.
We laud the People First initiative by the government to offer a one-off grant of RM500 to households with a monthly income of RM3,000, he said.
He also praised the steps taken to waive school fees for primary and secondary school education and the RM200 cash voucher for tertiary students to buy books.
He said MCA also supports the governments decision to raise the retirement age of civil servants from the current 58 to 60 years, adding that it was long overdue as the average life span has increased by 20 years since the country achieved independence.
Every single sector taken care
MCA vice-president and Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong called it an all gain, no pain budget which will boost the education sector.
With the one-off assistance, it will considerably ease the burden of parents, he said.
Besides, the students dont have to pay school fees, he said.
MCA Youth leader Chua Tee Yong hit out at Pakatan Rakyat for claiming the government had copied its alternative budget.
If youre afraid then just table your budget after Oct 7. The budget now benefits everyone directly and indirectly, said Chua, who is Labis MP and Deputy Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister.
Meanwhile, Federation of Chinese Assocation Malaysia (Huazhong) deputy secretary-general Dr Chin Yew Sin said that Budget 2012 has really taken care of every single sector and was really a pre-election budget.
However, he said RM100 million allocated for Chinese schools was unfair as there are 1,292 Chinese schools, which are more than any other vernacular schools.
The Chinese community is not too happy about it. The allocation should not be the same and should be given according to the number of schools, he said.
On the increase of civil servants retirement age to 58 to 60, Chin said he hopes that the private sector will follow suit.
Bukit Bendara MP and DAP strategist Lie! w Chin T ong said: It is a budget to raise election funds for Umno. The inability to reform makes me feels that this will likely be Barisan Nasionals final budget.
Liew also said the budget would only give jobs to the big boys but not the ordinary people.
Describing it as a peoples budget, MIC vice-president SK Devamany said it proved that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was concerned about the Indian community.
Under the Budget, the government allocated RM100 million for Tamil schools and another RM 100 million for Indian entrepreneurs under the Amanah Ikthiar Scheme.
The allocation for Tamil schools clearly indicates that the premier is passionate about education and student development, Devamany told FMT.
The deputy minister in the Prime Ministers Deparment added that the macro credit would also empower the Indian community and help usher it into the economic mainstream.
Apart from this, he said the allocation for Karisma, which provided assistance to the poor, senior citizens, children and disabled people as well as the abolishment of school fees would also benefit the community.
The budget is truly based on the 1Malaysia concept where all regardless of race are taken into account, he said.
MIC secretary general S Murugesan also praised the Budget, unveiled by Najib in the Dewan Rakyat this evening.
With the budget, the nation will continue to increase in terms of economic and social developments, he told FMT.
He added that it was a proper budget, which came about in a timely manner due to the increase in living cost.
We are given peanuts
However, Malaysian Indian Progressive Association (MIPAS) president A Rajaretnam was disappointed, claiming that Najib had given peanuts to the community.
We representing over 200 Indian-based NGOs requested Najib to provi! de at le ast RM2 billion to cater for the needs of the Indian community, he said, adding that only 10% of this was allocated.
What can the community do with RM200 million? he asked.
Furthermore, he pointed out that MIC president G Palanivel himself had requested Najib to allocate RM5billion.
It seems like Najib has once again played out the community, he said.
From Douglas Tan, via e-mail
After listening to Najib Tun Razak make his two-hour budget announcement on TV1, it really appears that it is business as usual for middle Malaysia despite the goodies being poured out.
There are a couple of points which are of interest. Firstly, what hits you immediately is the sheer size of the budget. RM232.8 billion is a lot of money, especially when we are looking at a 9.4% rise in expenditure.
However, the countrys deficit will be reduced to 4.7% from 5.4% of GDP. How this is going to be achieved is yet to be seen. However, the fact remains that in terms of amount, it would be the biggest deficit in Malaysian history.
Economic growth expected at 5.0-5.5% for 2011 and growth of between 5-6% for 2012 despite tough economic conditions. Even if this is the case, there will be the fundamental question as to whether this would be enough to pay for our bills as a result of this budget?
Goodies galore across the board, from patients above 60 being exempted from outpatient registration fees, RM15 million for 150 futsal courts, RM200 vouchers for school children and the abolishment of school fees.
A proposal taken from the Pakatan Rakyat Buku Jingga was a RM500 relief for families earning a household income of under RM3,000. Apart from the futsal courts, these are welcomed steps taken by the BN government.
One part that I find particularly exciting is the tax exemption for donations to mission schools and houses of worship which is a big step in respecting the practice of other religions. However, in their sincerity, licenses for building places of worship should be dropped as well.
Good news for foreign investors includes the liberalising of 17 services sub-sectors which would allow 100% foreign equity. This is not good news for local investors who are still subject to 40% bumi equity, which would have companies such as Genting and YTL taking money out of the coun! try. Why are we giving incentives to foreigners at the expense of our own citizens.
Apart from the lifting of duties for hybrids until 2013, there is a complete absence in the mention of Green Technology. After the Prime Ministers vision of Putrajaya and Cyberjaya as green technology centres, RM1.5 billion in soft loans for green technology companies and a pledge to reduce Malaysias carbon footprint by 40% by 2025, why suddenly shelve it?
We just had a massive Green Technology exhibition in September called IGEM hosted by the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA). The minister Datuk Peter Chin was around for the entire duration of the event over 4 days, but in the end, was it all lip service to the environment?
The other losers are the middle income earners, and incentives for business. Although there are substantial allocations for entrepreneurs starting out new businesses, liberalising business by dropping taxes such as import taxes on cars or eliminating the controversial APs would have been a very popular move. No allocation for improving public transport and access would also disappoint the daily commuter.
What was extremely disappointing is the announcement of more mega projects such as the Coastal Highway JB-Nusa and the Taiping Heritage Tourism Project at a cost of RM978 million. These would certainly go into cost over-runs, be subject to closed tenders and cronyism. No change from the past.
The big winners are the civil servants, who will be getting their half month bonuses, pay rises from 7-13% per annum, and a time based pay scheme for civil servants to climb pay grades faster. With 1.3 million civil servants, that is a massive number of voters which would be affected by this measure.
With all these goodies, it is certainly shaping up as an election budget. Our Prime Minister was careful to mention that the RM33.2 billion subsidies package would not be removed as a gesture of putting the people first, but many still questi! on why R ON 95 is still RM1.90 despite oil prices falling.
There are many quick fixes and incentives, but the fundamental infrastructure of the nation has been ignored. Handouts cannot eradicate hardcore poverty, nor combat rising costs. There are no moves to make our economy more competitive or additional incentives to bring our overseas talent home.
To the Prime Ministers credit, it is not a bad budget. But given the fact that the money spent is merely aesthetic, and does not change the divisive, corrupt and oppressive system it is built on, Pakatan Rakyat is looking increasingly capable of being an effective government.
Given the fact that the alternative budget was well received, and with the promise of accountable and graft free government, we may yet uncover billions more which Barisan Nasional has been concealing from the Rakyat. Do your duty at GE13 for your country!
Many had anticipated massive increases in the taxes on tobacco and alcohol, but Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak did not mention them in his speech.
Budget 2012, with its slew of goodies for the low and middle income segments of Malaysian society, is widely seen as an election budget.
Among the first to react was the Confederation of Malaysian Tobacco Manufacturers (CMTM), which welcomed the decision not to raise tobacco taxes.
CMTM is extremely encouraged that in light of the significant issue of illegal cigarettes in Malaysia, the government has taken a very prudent approach of not increasing cigarette excise in this years Budget, it said in a press statement.
We are all aware that excessive taxation is one of the critical factors which fuel the trade of illegal cigarettes and as such are indeed very heartened that the government has shown pragmatism in its cigarette taxation approach.
We believe the governments two-pronged approach of a prudent excise policy and enhanced enforcement is a constructive and effective strategy to fight the huge illegal cigarette trade in Malaysia today.
CMTM was established by British American Tobacco Malaysia Bhd, JT International Bhd and Philip Morris (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd to manage issues of common interest and to act as a general source of information on the Malaysian tobacco industry.
The budget, which also did not touch income tax, minimum wage and the goods and services tax (GST), is full of incentives catering to wide sections of Malaysian society.
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak offered cash handouts to the poor and civil servants as he unveiled a budget designed to appeal to an electorate increasingly worried about making ends meet.
Najib, who is widely expected to call snap polls within months, also outlined a range of tax incentives in finance, tourism and other areas aimed at spurring domestic demand to ward off a feared export slowdown.
The prime minister told Parliament the cash handouts would include a one-off payment of RM500 ringgit (US$158) to lower-income families and bonuses for the countrys 1.3 million civil servants equal to half their monthly salaries.
He called the RM1.8 billion in payments to the poor an unprecedented measure to help lower-income segments of society cope with rising world prices of food, fuels and other essentials.
The budget is likely the last before Najib calls pivotal parliamentary elections.
A once-insignificant opposition scored unprecedented gains in 2008 polls that saw the long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition lose its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time, and Najib has battled lately to win back voters.
In an environment of global uncertainties, the strong support of the people is mandatory for us to become developed and prosper as a nation, he told Parliament.
With inflation around two-year highs of 3.3% in August cost-of-living, concerns loom large with voters and Najib zeroed in on those fears.
His budget said the government would maintain a subsidies programme on key commodities that it had previously moved to scale back in a deficit-reduction drive.
The c uts in subsidies on fuel and sugar caused prices of those items to spike and had a knock-on effect on costs of transport and other essential commodities that had already risen along with surging world prices.
The inflation fears have been compounded by concern that the export sector the economys driving force could be hit by the credit crisis in Europe and lingering US economic problems.
Economic growth has slowed from 7.2% in 2010 to 4.0% in the second quarter of this year.
Najibs budget maintains its earlier rough estimates of 5.0%-5.5% growth for full-year 2011 and 5.0%-6.0% in 2012.
Independent analysts have previously said both forecasts were optimistic.
The budget acknowledged Southeast Asias third-largest economy faces increased challenges due to the external environment, and forecast export growth of 6.8% in 2011 and 6.0% next year.
Growth had surged by 15.6 % in 2010.
Despite the government handouts and tax breaks, the budget forecasts a 4.7% budget deficit in 2012, down from the 5.4% target for 2011.
The ruling coalition has governed Muslim-majority Malaysia since independence in 1957, but an opposition alliance has capitalised on concerns over corruption, economic worries, and authoritarian rule.
Last month, Najib promised to scrap draconian laws often criticised as tools of repression in a gesture widely seen as aimed at voters.
Media Statement by Tony Pua, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara in Kuala Lumpur
The expectations were high for a pre-election budget where Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak will stamp his reformist credentials. It is for the Prime Minister to put into action the various reform pledges made in his cornerstone policy blueprints the New Economic Model (NEM), Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).
However, the announcement of the budget left much to be desired as little has changed beyond tweaking the budget of the previous financial year. Instead what is perhaps the most worrying is that Malaysians are like the proverbial frog in the hot soup where the frog does not realise the soup is slowly but surely reaching the boiling point.
We may not yet be facing the crisis of Greek proportions, but Budget 2012 is doing very little to avert such eventuality, leaving the Malaysian economy nakedly exposed to the inevitability.
Federal Government Debt
Our Federal Government debt has increased rapidly from RM242 billion in 2004 to RM363 billion in 2009 and RM456 billion in 2011. That represents a marked 88.4% increase in debt over the past 7 years. It is also an increase of 25.6% or nearly RM100 billion over 2 years.
The increase in debt has increased the pressure on reigning in our budget deficit as our annual debt service commitments have increased to RM20.5 billion next year from only half the amount 5 years ago in 2007.
While our federal government debt to GDP ratio is still at a moderate 53.8%, a far cry from Greeces 117%, we are not far from Spains 64% or Irelands 67%, both of whom are facing economic turbulence of their own.
Our debt levels will only worsen in the next few years as we embark on record levels of infrastructure spending such as the RM53 billion Klang Valley MRT project which is expected to be funde! d entire ly on debt.
Wages and Pensions
At the same time, our public sector expenditure is increasingly mirroring that of the European countries with ballooning civil service obligations. The budgeted expenditure for wages and pensions for 2012 is a whopping RM64.1 billion, an increase of RM6.2 billion or 10.8% budgeted for 2011. The increase is even more worrying when contrasted against the budgeted RM36.9 billion 2007, a 73.7% increase in just 5 years.
The GTP had promised a more efficient and cost effective government and civil service. What we are seeing from the Budget is only on which is indebting our children, entrenching our structural problems and very weak expenditure controls.
Despite the Governments efforts in the ETP, our manufacturing and export statistics paint a starkly different picture.
Our export sector grew a miserly 2.7% in 2011 against 13.2% in 2010. However, we should be further alarmed by the fact that the growth was a result of increased contributions from exports of rubber, paper, textiles, clothes and shoes which grew in excess of 15%, and the petroleum products by 9.3%. Our electrical and electronics sector, which constitutes 26.4% of our total exports industry shrunk by 4.9% in 2011.
From the above indicators, there appears to be a shift away from higher value-added export sectors to the primary products industry such as rubber, wood, textiles and crude oil. This is the exact reverse of what we are trying to achieve via the ETP.
Based on the Economic Report, we are expected to meet our deficit target of 5.4% for this year only because our revenues had grown beyond the expected in the 2010 budget due to very strong commodity prices. The Government has managed to collect RM21.1 billion of extra revenue on top of the originally budget RM165.8 billion. If not for the unexpected increase in government revenue, our budget deficit would have been a shocki! ng 7.9%.
The Government is planning a 4.7% deficit for 2012, a figure which doesnt give hope that the 2.5% deficit target promised by Najib can be met by 2015. Even then, based on poor expenditure controls and the habitual ad hoc expenditure patterns of past BN governments, even meeting the 4.7% target will be a challenge, especially if commodity prices were to fall below expectations next year.
Finally, despite having achieved on 4.2% growth in the first half of 2011, and a slowing global economy in the face of another potential economic crisis, the Government has retained its unrealistic growth assumptions of 5.0 to 5.5%. To meet the target, Malaysias economy will have to grow by at least 5.7% in the 2nd half of the year, which is highly optimistic to say the least.
The Federal Governments unrealistic expectations coupled with a budget which failed to demonstrate substantive reforms and political will for change makes the 2012 budget a highly disappointing and puts in serious doubt our ability to become a high income nation as aspired in Najibs New Economic Model.
Jangan ingat kita yang pertama memperkenalkan negara berkebajikan kerana Barisan Nasional (BN) sejak sekian lama mengamalkan negara berkebajikan, katanya sambil mendapat tepukan dari ahli Parlimen BN.
Perdana Menteri berkata, bagi setiap kilogram beras super tempatan, harga asal RM2.40, rakyat hanya bayar RM1.80. Subsidi kerajaan 60 sen. Bagi setiap kilogram gula, harga asal RM2.50, rakyat hanya bayar RM2.30 dan subsidi kerajaan berjumlah 20 sen.
Bagi setiap kilogram beras super tempatan, harga asal RM2.40, rakyat hanya bayar RM1.80 manakala subsidi kerajaan sebanyak 60 sen. Manakala setiap kilogram gula, harga asal RM2.50, rakyat hanya bayar RM2.30 dan subsidi kerajaan berjumlah 20 sen.
Minyak masak yang harga sekarang RM4.75, rakyat hanya bayar RM2.50. Tepung pula harga asal RM1.90, rakyat bayar RM1.35, katanya sambil menambah ini yang dikatakan negara berkebajikan.
Pakatan Rakyat khususnya PAS mengumumkan manifesto negara berkebajikan jika menawan Putrajaya dalam pilihan raya umum akan datang.
Dalam ucapannya Najib mengumumkan had maksimum harga rumah Skim Rumah Pertamaku dicadangkan dinaikkan daripada RM220,000 kepada RM400,000.
Mengenai Skim Amanah Rakyat 1Malaysia, Perdana Menteri berkata, skim ini dibuka kepada isi rumah berpendapatan bulanan RM3,000 dan ke bawah akan memanfaatkan 100,000 isi rumah.
Pelabur boleh mohon pinjaman RM5,000 dengan tempoh bayaran balik lima tahun, tambahnya! .
Najib berkata, kerajaan akan memberikan subsidi RM20,000 untuk pembelian Program Rumah Mesra Rakyat.
Menurutnya, mereka yang tidak memiliki rumah atau tinggal di rumah usang boleh mendapat pembiayaan untuk membeli rumah berharga RM65,000 dengan harga RM45,000. RM200 juta diperuntukkan untuk program ini.
Najib juga mengumumkan pengecualian 100 peratus duti eksais dan cukai jualan ke atas pembelian teksi baru buatan tempatan.
Pengecualian bayaran balik duti eksais dan cukai jualan ke atas teksi yang berusia lebih tujuh tahun yang dijual atau tukar milik.
Kerajaan juga mengumumkan untuk memansuhkan cukai jalan ke atas teksi bajet milik persendirian.
Pemberian bantuan RM3,000 bagi melupuskan teksi lama berusia lebih tujuh tahun tetapi kurang 10 tahun. Bagi teksi berusia 10 tahun dan ke bawah, bantuan RM1,000 akan diberikan, katanya.
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak today unveiled the 2012 Budget, providing a slew of incentives to further strengthen the domestic economy, a RM6 billion special stimulus package, perks to attract investments and boost the Islamic sukuk market, banking, finance and hospitality industries, as well as much-awaited support for small-and medium- scale enterprises.
Najib, who is also finance minister, also announced that Felda Global Ventures Holdings will be listed by mid-next year to raise funds for the land development agency to emerge as a global conglomerate as well as income tax exemptions to accelerate development of the Kuala Lumpur International Financial District (KLIFD).
The listing will create another blue chip plantation company besides attracting international investors to Bursa Malaysia, he said when tabling 2012 Budget in Parliament today.
In clearly keeping the wheels well-oiled in Malaysias economic transformation process, Najib said 17 services sub-sectors will be liberalised besides an allocation of RM2.5 billion under the public-private partnership (PPP) facilitation fund with RM300 million for Bumiputera entrepreneurs.
To accelerate development of the five regional corridors, the government will allocate RM978 million inlcuding an agropolitan scheme in Besut, Terengganu, and a palm oil industrial cluster project in Lahad Datu, Sabah, and Samalaju water supply project in Sarawak.
In efforts to woo multinational corporations and establish treasury management services, the government has proposed an income tax exemtpion of 70 % for five years, witholding tax exemption on interest payments on borrowings and stamp duty exemtpion on loans and service agreements.
Naj! ib said the 2012 Budget will cost RM232.8 billion, of which RM181.6 billion is for operating expenditure and RM51.2 billion for development.
Of the development expenditure, RM29.8 billion is provided for the economic sector to support infrastructure needs, industry, agriculture and rural development.
100% income tax exemtpion
As for the KLIFD, Najib proposed a 100% income tax exemtpion for 10 years and stamp duty exemption on loans and service agreements for KLIFD-status companies, an industrial building allowance and accelerated capital allowance for KLIFD marquee-status companies and income tax exemption of 70 % for five years for property developers in the district.
Turning to sukuk (Islamic bond) market, which has emerged as a feather in the cap for Malaysias Islamic finance, the Prime Minister said a tax deduction on expenses incurred for sukuk wakala will be given for a three-year period from 2012 to encourage more sukuk issuances.
The income tax exemption given for non-ringgit sukuk issuance and transaction is extended for another three years until the year of assessment 2014, he said.
He also said the I-VCAP, a subsidiary of Valuecap Sdn Bhd, will provide RM200 million as seed money for shariah-compliant exchange traded funds (ETF) which will see the fund provide a matching loan subject to a maximum of RM20 million.
The prime minister also said the full exemption of import and excise duties on hybrid and electric cars given to franchise holders will be extended to end- 2013.
Realising the importance of small and medium enterprises to the countrys economy, Najib said a RM2 billion shariah-compliant SME Financing Fund will be established next year, which will be managed by selected Islamic banks.
The government will finance two per cent of the profit rate.
To prevent entrepreneurs succumb to failure due to economic recession and higher costs, he said the government will provide RM100 million f! or the SME Revitalisation Fund.
In addition, he said, the goverment will also establish a RM10 million SME Emergency Fund to help them affected by natural disasters so that they can recover and restart their businesses quickly.
Najib said the franchise fees borne by local franchisees will be allowed tax deduction in efforts to develop the local franchise industry and Malaysian brands.
Real property gains tax
He said Pulau Langkawi will be redeveloped with the Langkawi Five Year Tourism Development Master Plan to be launched with an allocation of RM420 million to be used to restructure the Langkawi Development Authority, set up a park rangers unit, upgrade museums, beaches and small businesses as well as provide a more efficient transportation system.
Hotel operators in Peninsular Malaysia investing in new four and five-star hotels will be given pioneer status with 70 % income tax exemption or 60 % investment tax allowance for five years.
In efforts not to jeopardise the ability of low-and middle-income groups to buy houses, Najib said the real property gains tax (RPGT) will be reviewed, whereby for properties held and disposed within two years, the RPGT rate is 10 % and 5 % for properties held for more than two years and up to five years.
I am confident the revised RPGT rates are low and will not affect genuine property owners and will curb speculative activities, he said.
He also announced a RM100 million allocation for creativity and innovation of which RM30 million will be used to establish the Market Validation Fund to be managed by the Malaysian Technology Development Corporation together with the Malaysia Innovation Agency.
The Prime Minister said a Gross National Income of more than RM30 billion will be generated by 2020 from commercialisation of some 300 intellectual properties in the form of new products and technology from universities by the private sector.
To enable SMEs to commerciali! se resea rch products, the government will establish a shariah-compliant Commercialisation Innovation Fund totalling RM500 million with an attractive profit margin.
Effective 2012, this fund will be available at selected Islamic banks with the government financing two per cent of the profit rate, he said.
In his televised speech, the premier said the total revenue for 2012 is forecast to increase 1.9% to RM186.9 billion and the deficit to decrease to 4.7% of GDP from 5.4%.
Last year, Najib said the FDI growth was the strongest in Asia and in the first six months of this year, it had already reached RM21.2 billion.
Below are some of the salient points from the Budget, themed: National Transformation Policy: Welfare for the Rakyat, Well-Being of the Nation.
- Felda GVH will be listed on Bursa Malaysia by mid-2012 to raise funds for the company to become a global conglomerate.
- Felda settlers are expected to receive a windfall and the amount will be announced before listing.
- A RM2 billion syariah -compliant SME Financing Fund managed by selected Islamic banks will be established in 2012.
- A RM100 million SME Revitalisation Fund offering loans up to a maximum of RM1 million for entrepreneurs will be available from January 2012.
- Full exemption of import duty and excise duty on hybrid cars and electric cars will continue to be given until 2013.
- RM1 billion will be provided through a special fund for the construction, improvement and maintenance of schools.
- RM50.2 billion will be allocated to the education sector so that it can continue to develop talented, creative and innovative people.
- Payments for primary and secondary education will be abolished.
- In 2012, private investment is forecast to climb 15.9%! , suppor ted by foreign and domestic investment
- GDP in the first 6 months of 2011 was 4.4%, driven by strong domestic consumption
- In 2011, the economy is forecast to grow by 5-5.5%
- The Kuala Lumpur International Financial District will be developed, with incentives including income tax exemptions for firms.
- The Treasury Management Centre will be established and offer incentives to develop Malaysia as a competitive financial centre.
- RM978 million will be allocated to accelerate the development in five regional corridors.
- RM13.6bil has been allocated for the social sector, including education and training, welfare, housing and community development
MORE TO FOLLOW
From Andika Wahab, via e-mail
We are writing to you to express our concern over the arrest of the 97 Burmese refugees in Penang, and urge the government to not forcibly deport them to any country where their life may be in danger.
We remind the Malaysian government of its obligation to uphold the international customary law of non-refoulement, which prohibits the return of people to places where they may face persecution or threats to their life or freedoms.
Suaram also urges the government to provide free access to the arrested 97 Burmese refugees to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for their asylum claims to be processed.
Upon verification of their asylum claims, the arrested refugees must be released into the official care of the UNHCR. We also remind the government that every person has the right to seek asylum in other country as stated in the Article 14 under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).
For record, the 97 Burmese refugees were arrested on Oct 6, 2011 by the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (APMM) in their joint operation near to Pulau Bedong.
The said Burmese refugees fled refugee camps in Bangladesh and in their five-day journey to reach Penang. Unfortunately, they were arrested by the local enforcement agencies before they reached the land in Pulau Betong.
They are currently detained (for further investigation) at Ibu Pejabat Polis, Daerah Barat Daya, Penang.
We strongly urge the government to ratify 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol. The Malaysian government as a member of the UN Human Rights Council must take serious measures in promoting and protecting human rights, including those of refugees and asylum seekers.
The writer is Refugee Coordinator, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)
KOTA BELUD: In a remote corner of Sabah, a showdown is looming between natives of two kampungs near Pandasan here and government officers who are scheduled to do a land survey for a proposed 3,000-acre agropolitan project on what the natives claim is their land.
Hundreds of villagers from Kampung Bungaliu and Kampung Bubuk are determined to stop the survey of the land, which they claim native customary rights (NCR) to and which has already been cultivated with rubber trees and cash crops including hill paddy on shifting cultivation basis.
Leading the natives is the Bungaliu deputy chairman of the village development and security committee, Antonis Angkup, who told FMT they would not budge or be intimidated even though the district officer told them the surveying team would be accompanied by the police.
This is our NCR land, it is not just state land, they must not simply force their way against our will as we know our rights and they are established as a law of the land, he said.
Angkup, 35, said the chairman of the committee, Santin Guntalib, had been forced to inform the villagers yesterday that the land survey team would commence their work in the two kampungs from today.
The chairman himself is against this agropolitan project here but he is under great pressure from the authorities not to openly speak against it but we will oppose it no matter what, he said.
According to Angkup, 800 acres of the total earmarked area for agropolitan is in nearby Rosok Kanibungan while the remaining 2,200 acres would be carved out from the Bungaliu and Bubuk areas.
Ankup himself was called to the district office and told not to obj! ect to t he proposed federal-funded project to make Kota Belud a main food producer.
I was called and they pressured me with a lot of strong words that I must not object the agropolitan project because it is a huge project by the government, he told local activist lawyer Peter Marajin who visited his kampung a few weeks ago.
There is no logic
Angkup said he was unafraid to stand for his and the peoples rights but he was taking precautions as the five government officers who had admonished him were determined that he not convey the kampung peoples view to anyone.
There is no logic in the project as we already planted rubber trees on some of the land. Why must they come and cut down our trees and then re-plant them with the same rubber trees again? he asked.
Marajin, who is also Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) supreme council member, when contacted, said he was monitoring the situation closely.
I am sending my people to the ground. Meanwhile I urge the government not to force its will against (the wishes of) its own people who are yearning for more information and participation in decision-making in the billion ringgit project.
Participation by the rakyat is a tenet in democracy. Why are these civil servants going overboard trampling on the heads of simple kampung folks?
Are they all suddenly experts on agropolitan development that they must not listen to the people, the very beneficiaries? Do they know whose money they are spending or are they under strict orders from politicians with vested interests that no dissenting voice on the proposed project must be heard?
In our eagerness to bring development to the rural areas, we must also take into consideration the natives the peoples view. It is not just developing the land it is about human development, he had said when he visited the villagers weeks ago.
The agropolitan project for Kota Belud involves clearing lands and re-planning development of thousands of hectares of state! land fo r agriculture, especially rice.
But residents of various kampongs are complaining that companies with government links are forcing them off their NCR lands.
The billion-ringgit agropolitan project in Kota Belud district has already been rocked by controversy.
A heated debate is on-going on the proposed half-a-billion ringgit Tambatuon Dam which was ironically planned to be sited at one of the most beautiful and highly populated kampungs in Kota Belud.
The issue has drawn the attention of both state and national political leaders and comes after the federal and state governments were forced to back down on another ambitious project, a coal-powered electricity plant in Sinakut, Lahad Datu.
So far the MP for Kota Belud Abdul Rahman Dahlan has avoided a scheduled debate on Tambatuon Dam with DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang who nevertheless turned up in Kota Belud weeks ago for the debate.
Tokyo closed 0.98% higher, adding 83.60 points, to 8,605.62, Sydney ended 2.29%, or 93 points, to 4,162.9 and Seoul surged 2.89%, or 49.45 points, to 4,009.26.
Hong Kong was 2.68% higher in afternoon trade and Singapore put on 1.50%.
Shanghai was closed for a public holiday.
Wall Street provided a good lead, with the Dow closing 1.68% up, the S&P 500 1.83% higher and the tech-heavy Nasdaq growing 1.88%.
Investors regained some of their confidence after the ECB held interest rates and announced measures to bolster under pressure eurozone banks.
The bank opened two longer-term new lines of credit for banks and pledged to buy up to 40 billion euros of bank bonds backed by collateral from November as it looked to soothe jittery financial markets.
The move took the edge off recent concerns that the crisis in Greece could spread to other economies and lead to another global downturn.
European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso also gave markets a lift when he said efforts were under way for coordinated action by the 27 European Union states to recapitalise banks.
Also yesterday Britains central bank, the Bank of England, said it would inject 75 billion pounds into the stalled economy to stimulate growth.
With moves to inject capital into European banks, there are signs of a brighter outlook for progress, although a full resolution is still far off, said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo.
Alvin Cheung, associate director of Prudential Brokerage, said: I dont thin! k the re bound will last long. All the fundamentals havent changed. The euro debt crisis remains unresolved and the U.S. economy hasnt got any better.
Global markets have been sent spinning in recent weeks as European leaders seem unable to come to any agreement on how to help Greece avoid a default or how to protect lenders with exposure to Athens.
The announcements boosted the euro in New York, jumping about one cent against the dollar.
However, the unit edged slightly lower in Asian trade. It bought US$1.3426 in Tokyo against US$1.3433 in New York late yesterday. The European common currency was at 102.88 yen compared with 103.03 yen.
The dollar was at 76.63 yen, from 76.69 yen.
With the ECBs bank plan easing eurozone tension, dealers turned to the United States, where the government is due later Friday to release key jobs data that will give an indication to the health of the economy there.
BNZ FX Strategist Mike Burrowes told Dow Jones Newswires: We are now shifting our attention to the US economy, which we have kind of forgotten about.
In Seoul shares in Samsung Electronics jumped after it tipped a 13.6% year-on-year fall in operating profit, which was better than the 31% decline many had expected.
The South Korean giants shares ended 0.6% higher.
Oil slipped, with New Yorks main contract, light sweet crude for November delivery down two US cents to US$82.57 a barrel in volatile afternoon Asian trade.
Brent North Sea crude for November was down four US cents to US$105.69.
By 0615 GMT gold was at US$1,657.35 an ounce up from US$1,652.00 at 1000 GMT yesterday.
KUALA LUMPUR: It is unlikely for Anwar Ibrahim to indulge in rough and vigorous sex as described by complainant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, according to the opposition leaders spinal surgeon Dr Thomas Hoogland.
Testifying at the Sodomy II trial today, the Dutch orthopedic doctor said that a back and forth movement done repeatedly would have caused significant pain in Anwars back.
Asked by Anwars defence lawyer Sankara Nair how he came to such conclusions, Hoogland said that as a spine expert it was his opinion based on examinations of Anwar and findings of MRI scans.
For Anwar to really vigorously use his back I think when we consider the sexual act, it is very, very unlikely that it is possible; based on examination of Anwar and findings of MRI, it is not possible for a man his age (to have performed the alleged act), he told the High Court here.
When asked, Hoogland agreed that it would also be painful for Anwar to kneel on a carpeted floor.
Hoogland had performed surgery on Anwars back in 2004 in Munich, Germany. He also recently re-examined Anwar last month on Sept 8 and testified yesterday that it would have been painful for Anwar to bend his body for even 10 degrees, or to partake in vigorous activities.
Hoogland had said yesterday that even after surgery, which improved Anwars walking abilities, the latter still suffered from arthritis in his facet joints, limited movement as well as nerve roots damage caused by a police assault in 1998.
The then inspector-general of police Abdul Rahim Noor was charged with assaulting Anwar in the infamous black-eye incident which resulted in the latter falling and hurting his back.
Hoogland said Anwars 1998 injuries were significant and traumatic and descr! ibed the m as the
beginning of all of Anwars back problems as they were not caused by degenerative age reasons.
CCTV footage shown
During cross-examination by lead prosecutor Solicitor-general II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, Hoogland was shown a CCTV footage depicting what appeared to be Anwar in a lift.
Yusof pointed out that in the video, dated June 26, 2008, Anwar could be seen bending over several times while easily putting down and picking up his briefcase when he was in the lift.
Quizzed on this, Hoogland said he could not really comment on the recording as some parts of the video playback was faster than normal and he could not ascertain how quickly Anwar was bending.
The video is speeding faster than normal. Some parts are real speed. People dont walk so fast, complained Hoogland, who said that he could not see if Anwar was bending all the way or just picking up his briefcase.
He also said that he could not see the expression of Anwar to determine if he was in pain or not.
He is like Anwar (in the video) and he is able to bend. I never said he cannot bend in my medical report. Only that there is pain while bending and he has to do this motion slowly. Here we cant see if he is in pain, added the doctor.
Hoogland had earlier said that it would be very painful for Anwar to bend his back and to pick up something, noting that he would need to bend at the knees. However, he admitted that it was possible to bend slowly.
Could he be pretending?
Yusof had earlier asked Hoogland if a person could easily bend and pick up a pen, without displaying any pain or hampered movements, what would his conclusion be.
Hoogland, however, said that such an observation was not a usual functional test for doctors.
Yusof: How about we regard this as a new test?
Hoogland: Well I will suggest to my colleagues from now on and perhaps call it the Kuala Lumpur Test! .
Hoogland was also asked today if a patient could pretend to report pain in his back, but the doctor replied that there was no way a patient could fake or mimic back pain.
When we conduct tests, a patient doesnt really know anything. If the patient mimics pain, he will do it in an unusual manner (and we will know). Also we will always repeat tests to double check, said the spine specialist.
At one point Yusof argued that a person might ignore pain and continue to function.
In everyday life people are concerned with symptoms, I think I myself have stenosis, its there but it doesnt hamper me I stand a lot but I dont feel it if I take the medication and it can go away, said Yusof.
But Hoogland pointed out that Anwar had athritis, which was different.
Prosecution to bring rebuttal witnesses
Towards the end, the proceeding was held in camera where the public and media could not observe the closed proceedings. Re-examination by the defence was also done in camera.
Trial would resume from Oct 17 till Oct 20. Former IGP Musa Hassan and ex-Malacca police chief Mohd Rodwan Mohd Yusof were expected to take the stand.
Meanwhile, it is understood that the prosecution would be applying to bring in rebuttal witnesses.
They said they are bringing two to three witnesses, Sankara told reporters later.
We are not sure who they will be bringing but I suspect it will be their own expert witnesses in cases where they dont agree with ours, he said.
Kedatangan lalat sememangnya tidak diundang. Cubaan untuk membuat kacau menjadi sebaliknya apabila puak PERKAKAS yang datang berarak hanya seramai lebih kurang 20-30 orang bertempiaran lari hampir 2kilometer. Ini berikutan kerjasama utuh di antara SAMM dan Unit Alam bersama penduduk tempatan mula bergerak ke arah puak pengacau.
Habis semua banner-banner berkos tinggi yang dibawa berarak oleh puak pengacau ditinggalkan di atas jalan. Lintang pukang mereka lari seolah-olah tak cukup tanah, walaupun sebelumnya menggelarkan diri mereka pahlawan. Ini pahlawan tahi kucing! Mungkin mereka akan gunakan efek ubat batuk sebagai alasan mengapa mereka cabut lari.
Pertembungan kali ini tidak seperti apa yang berlaku di Seremban tempohari. Puak pengacau tidak sesekali berani mengambil risiko membaling batu kerana jumlah mereka jauh lebih kecil berbanding anak muda dan penduduk tempatan yang bangkit pertahankan Md Sabu yang ketika itu duduk di pentas ceramah. Syabas kepada penduduk tempatan kerana bermatian pertahan Md Sabu, yang dialu-alukan sebagai tetamu kehormat.
Merujuk dari akhbar Sinar 6 Oktober 2011, puak 'geng jahat' mengeluarkan kenyataan mahu mengumpul sejumlah seribu bekas perajurit bersama mereka. Nyata 'geng jahat' tidak diberi sambutan oleh golongan bekas perajurit malah ramai juga bekas perajurit yang hadir terus mendengar ceramah Md Sabu. Perajurit juga! bersama Mat Sabu kerana jika ruyung sejarah tidak dipecah oleh beliau, maka bekas-bekas perajurit ini pastinya kurang diberi perhatian sepertimana yang dilaporkan - 70% dari mereka hidup menderita.
Perkasa dah lari meninggalkan panji berupa banner-banner yang mahal. Itulah lemahnya jika datang dengan niat dan tujuan yang jahat, itulah natijahnya ketika hadir hanya berikhlaskan wang ringgit. Banner-banner tersebut kemudiannya dirampas selepas ditinggalkan berterabur di atas jalan. Ada di antara mereka yang keciciran handphone jenis nokia edisi paling cokia buat penyendal pintu, aduhai rata-rata pencacai yang hadir itu juga orang yang susah serba ketinggalan. Kalau sokong Umno BN menjadikan pencacai ini kaya-raya, itu tidaklah mengapa.
Kekecohan berterusan di kawasan yang agak jauh dari tapak ceramah yang juga dipenuhi wanita dan kanak-kanak. Ini merupakan satu kejayaan buat SAMM, Unit Amal dan penduduk tempatan kerana dari sudut ini walau pembaling batu bertaraf olimpik sekalipun tidak mampu sampai batunya di tapak ceramah. PERKASA berkumpul tidak mahu pulang dan kembali berterabur lari apabila kami menghampiri. Begitulah keadaan berulang kali berlaku.
Baca seterusnya di sini.
Due to the pressure exerted by the rakyat who came in droves to participate in the rally, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced that a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) will be formed to see to electoral reforms. The keywords here are to see to. This does not mean that electoral reforms will necessarily be implemented.
The nine MPs sitting on the PSC are made up of fve Barisan Nasional MPs: chairman Maximus Ongkili (PBS, Kota Marudu), Alexander Nanta Linggi (PBB, Kapit), Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad (Umno, Kangar), Fong Chan Onn (MCA, Alor Gajah) and P Kamalanathan (MIC, Hulu Selangor).
The three opposition MPs from Pakatan Rakyat are Azmin Ali (PKR, Gombak), Anthony Loke (DAP, Rasah) and Dr Hatta Ramli (PAS, Kuala Krai).
The Independent bloc is represented by Wee Choo Keong (Wangsa Maju).
Although the PSC seems to be a good move by the BN government, its sincerity and seriousness in implementing electoral reforms is doubted by its detractors who claim that the PSC is only for show and an eyewash to hoodwink the public.
Still, there are many who lauded the governments move as sincere and commendable.
However, the PSC started on a wrong note when Minister in the Prime Ministers Department Nazri Abdul Aziz stated that reforms can still be implemented after the 13th general election if Parliament is dissolved before the reforms are implemented.
It is pointless to have reforms after the 13th general election. This only goes to show that the government is not really serious about electoral reforms as what the sceptics have ! trumpete d all along.
Bersih 2.0 has thus issued a press statement on Oct 4 denouncing Nazris statement and urging the prime minister to give all Malaysians his word that the polls will not be held before the recommendations from the PSC are implemented.
Government is not concerned
Nazris statement proves that all along the government is not concerned with electoral reforms. Its claim is that everything is fine, if not, how could the opposition win five states in 2008? This statement is meant to deceive the gullible among the rakyat because the opposition won in spite of the dubious electoral system due to the overwhelming support from the rakyat and not because the election process is clean.
Had the election process been clean, the opposition would have already taken over the seat in Putrajaya!
On Oct 6, the governments sincerity in electoral reforms was again in doubt when Ongkili made a statement that the views of Bersih 2.0 would not be taken into account!
This is shocking indeed as the PSC was set up due to pressure from Bersih 2.0. Therefore, to ignore Bersih 2.0 is like eating nasi lemak without the sambal!
Bersih 2.0 has indeed been cleaned out by the PSC, given that the statement came from none other than the PSC chairman himself.
This brings to light the poignant question: why is the PSC chairman making a unilateral decision without the consensus of the other eight PSC members as the first PSC meeting has yet to begin?
With the PSC starting on a wrong footing, it is highly doubtful that much can be achieved and it is likely that it will end up as a rubber-stamp committee to approve the current flawed electoral system. Thus, the PSCs sceptics have been vindicated even before the first meeting has begun.
Foreign vote bank
The three opposition MPs must do their utmost to see to it that the PSC is not a toothless tiger. As it is, there have been many adverse reports pertaining to the! malprac tice or oversight committed by the Election Commission (EC).
Chief among these are the proven evidence that the names of foreign workers have been inadvertently or mistakenly entered into the electoral rolls although how this could have happened is anyones guess.
Coincidentally, the legalisation of the foreign workers came at a most crucial time (in August 2011), with the 13th general election widely tipped to be held by March next year.
This gives rise to the suspicion that theres a connection between the foreign workers and the electoral rolls and the government has done nothing to allay the rakyats suspicions except to issue weak denials pertaining to hanky-panky in the voter rolls. The same goes for ECs silence in this matter.
Besides the above incident, retired servicemen have come out to openly declare that they have been asked to vote for BN by marking out ballot papers on behalf of their fellow comrades, with one of them saying that he marked thousands of ballot papers until his hand became numb.
If all this is not called cheating, then what is it?
World is watching
Further to this, there has been an addition of 32,000 new voters in Penang in the space of three months; 1,800 plus names missing in Ledang, Johor, and more than 800 over voters in Penang over the age of 100 besides rare duplicate names with the same date of birth but different MyKad numbers being detected. Certainly, all these discrepancies have vindicated the participants of the Bersih 2.0 rally.
Despite all these reports filtering in, the federal government has continued to keep mum. Its lack of political will to pay heed to these reports merely fuels the rakyats suspicion that it needs the ECs assistance to win at the polls.
Bear in mind that the prime minister has not promised that electoral reforms will take place before polls are held.
He is keeping quiet on this issue despite his credibility being at stake not only among the wiser portion! of the rakyat but also among the foreign investors.
It is no wonder that Malaysia is fast losing out as an important investment destination among the foreign businessmen.
The foreign investors and the world at large are watching the prime minister closely. He must know that his credibility in the international arena is nothing to shout about and take serious steps to address the issue of electoral reforms.
And this is just one aspect. What about the independence of the judiciary, the credibility of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police, et al?
Certainly, the prime minister must wake up and stop wearing rose-tinted glasses.
Selena Tay is a firm supporter of Pakatan Rakyat, being a DAP member, and a FMT columnist.
The Swedish Academy said it recognized the 80-year-old poet because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality.
In 1990, Transtromer suffered a stroke, which left him half-paralyzed and unable to speak, but he continued to write and published a collection of poems The Great Enigma in 2004.
Waking up is a parachute jump from dreams. Free of the suffocating turbulence the traveller sinks toward the green zone of morning, the poem reads. Things flare up. From the viewpoint of the quivering lark he is aware of the huge root systems of the trees, their swaying underground lamps. But aboveground theres greenery a tropical flood of it with lifted arms, listening to the beat of an invisible pump.
The Nobel prize, worth US $1.5 million is the largest and most prestigious literary award in the world. Its value to the publisher or promoter of a laureates novel, poetry or play is estimated to be in the tens of millions.
Nominees are selected by a special jury of unnamed members-for-life of the Swedish Academy, 18 individuals who evaluate both solicited and unsolicited submissions during the preceding year.
The prize is awarded for a work of literary excellence in any language that is deemed by the Academy as of great benefit to humanity, regardless of the writers gender or status in the international literary community.
Peruvian writer, politician, journalist, essayist, and one-time Peruvian presidential candidate, Mario Vargas Llosa, was the 2010 Nobel literature prize recipient.
T! he last poet to win the Nobel Literature prize was Polands Wislawa Szymborska, in 1996.
Sometimes prize winners, such as Germanys Herta Mueller in 2009 and Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio in 2008, were previously known to only a small circle of admirers.
Former Nobel literature laureates include widely read novelists, poets and playwrights John Steinbeck, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Gao Xingjian, Rudyard Kipling, W.B. Yeats, Anatole France, Ernest Hemingway, Patrick White, Albert Camus, Eugene ONeill and Orhan Pamuk.
Names of nominees are never released in advance by the Academy, but that doesnt stop bookmakers around the world from taking bets on the probable Top Ten contenders in the first days of October each year.
Earlier this week Nobel literature prize favourites were, in order: Adonis (Syria),Tomas Transtrmer (Sweden), Haruki Murakami (Japan), Bob Dylan (U.S.), Assia Djebar (Algeria), Peter Nadas (Hungary), Ko Un (South Korea), Les Murray (Australia), Thomas Pynchon (U.S.), Philip Roth (U.S.), and Nuruddin Farah (Somalia).
Since the Nobel Prize was established in 1901, the literature award has been handed out 103 times.
It was withheld seven times because the Academy decided no single work in those years met the criteria laid out in the will of scientist Alfred Nobel, who established the Nobel Foundation and annual cash prizes in five categories: physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace.
For this years selection process the Nobel literature jury hired additional experts to review work by authors writing in non-European languages.
The move followed criticism that the Swedish Academy is too Euro-centric. Europeans have won seven of the last 10 prizes.
The last ten winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature are: Mario Vargas Llosa (2010), Herta Mller (2009), Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clzio (2008), Doris Lessing (2007), Orhan Pamuk (2006), Harold Pinter (2005), Elfriede Jelinek (2004), John M. Coetzee (2003) Imre Kertsz (! 2002) an d Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (2001).
The opponents claimed that the changes would expose contract workers to abuse.
Waves of protest did not deter the government from tabling the second reading of the Bill after having to postpone it twice in the past.
Critics claimed that the amendments were drawn up at the behest of multinational corporations and potential investors and deliberately designed to empower employers to employ workers on fixed-term contracts for as long as they wanted to.
The Malaysian Trades Unions Congress (MTUC) had highlighted the fact that once the amendments were passed, employers would be permitted to impose unreasonable working hours, change weekly rest days as they please, in effect requiring women workers to work at night.
During the debate on the Bill, MPs Abdullah Sani (PKR-Hulu Selangor) and Charles Santiago (DAP-Klang) argued that the changes would promote outsourcing and this was illegal as middlemen who subcontract work cannot be considered employers.
Santiago pointed out that if outsourcing companies were allowed to be employers, workers would not be able to claim benefits from the principal company and would have to pay out of their own pockets for medical care and other benefits.
Add to the workers woes
Meanwhile, Abdullah said the Bill would only add to the woes faced by the workers, who are already suffering from lack of sufficient or efficient protection against abuses.
This change cannot and must not take place. If this Dewan Rakyat wants to protect workers then it must not all! ow the B ill to pass, he added
Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam, who tabled the Amendment Bill himself yesterday, denied the accusation and maintained that the changes were made to serve and protect workers.
He also said the changes were made after prior consultation with all stakeholders although unionists claimed that such meetings were mere political gimmicks.
The debate on the Amendment Bill raged on for five hours and was passed close to midnight.
In an immediate reaction, opposition leaders expressed disappointment over the manner in which the amendments were rushed through but vowed to fight through other means.
The commissions chief executive officer, Mohd Nur Kamal, said the luxury house on the piece of land did not feature in the evaluation process for the re-alignment.
The allegation is totally false because the original proposed alignment itself did not affect the house, said Mohd Nur.
On Wednesday PJ Utara MP Tony Pua said that SPAD had re-aligned its underground MRT track alignment to avoid acquiring the land belonging to a VIP.
Admitting that the MRT track on the road along Jalan Damansara (off Jalan Duta) was re-aligned, Mohd Nur said it was done due to the existence of a more suitable land at the area.
After getting feedback from the land owners at the area, Mohd Nur said the alternative piece of land would reduce the amount of land needed to be acquired by over 1,000 square metres.
Our original alignment would have sliced the original land into two non-connected pieces and the government would have had to compensate a huge amount for the loss of economic potential of the land, said Mohd Nur.
He added that not only would it save taxpayers money, the alternative lands acquisition for the MRT project would allow its surrounding area to continue to remain economically viable.
Indeed there is a cost to this realignment but it is lower than the potential compensation payout, he said.
The Jalan Sultan controversy
On the controversial proposed acquisition of the land at Jalan Sultan, Mohd Nur said SPAD had no choice but to look at the heritage site as it wa! s the mo st practical land for the project in the area.
For Jalan Sultan, the consideration is that the MRT has to serve two fixed points, the Pasar Seni LRT station for integration with the Kelana Jaya line, and the Merdeka Stadium area for the future development in that area.
He added that SPAD had duly considered the car park land near Jalan Sultan for the track alignment but found it unsuitable.
If set there, the MRT route will cause the train to either miss the integration point at Pasar Seni and the Merdeka Stadiums, or force the alignment to make impossible turns and bends.
And on top of that, the buildings will still be affected, he said.
Shopowners along Jalan Sultans heritage site were up in arms the past several months over SPADs announcement to acquire their plots of land for the MRT project.
Despite the shopowners objections, the government was adamant in acquiring their land citing the need to improve public transport sytem.
MRT tunnel shifted to save VIPs house
Yesterday he told the court the extent of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's injury as a result of a police assault he suffered after being sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998.
Anwar had surgery on the fourth and fifth lumbar of his lower back in 2004, which had subsequently restrict his mobility and movement.
Hoogland also testified that following inspections done last month, he believes Anwar cannot do any vigorous activity.
Yesterday also saw Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah striking out the subpoenas served on Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, to testify as witnesses.
Lead defence counsel Karpal Singh has indicated they will appeal yesterday's ruling, which they will file later today.
8.45am: Trial begins with High Court judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah presiding. Dr Thomas Hoogland is called to take the witness stand.
8.50am: From the micro-anatomy, the spine doctor says the nerve has blood vessels and we have learnt a lot since in relation to blood supply.
"Blood supply is the main problem when there is damage to the nerve," says Hoogland.
8.55am: Hoogland says, "When we consider the sexual act, it is unlikely possible."
"Based on the examination on Anwar and the MRI results, it is not possible (for the sodomy act) for his age," says Hoogland.
Defence team ends its questioning of Hoogland.
8.57am: The witness is handed over to the prosecution for cross-examination. Solicitor-general II Mohd Yusof Zainal A! biden be gins questioning.
9.07am: There was a light moment when Yusof goes through the details of the human anatomy.
"You passed the test," says Hoogland.
9.14am: Hoogland tells the court that when people are in the 40s and 50s, they may suffer from disc herniation.
He also says that at the age of 40, some people may develop arthiritis.
9.32am: Yusof asks Hoogland about lumbar stenosis.
9.35am: Hoogland says to check for stenosis, he would take a look at the hips, then have the patient stand up and do bend movements.
"Then you have him stand on his toes and do reflexes. We also do tests on the sensation to see if the nerve is blocked or not."
9.45am: Hoogland says based on the condition of the back, he would recommend several modes of treatment to lumbar stenosis.
This includes physiotheraphy, anti-inflammatory drug, steroid injection which can only be done three times a year, acupuncture or chiropractor and surgery.
9.48am: The spine doctor says Anwar's injury was not caused by age but as a result of the police assault.
He had stenosis and nerve damage.
9.50am: Hoogland says Anwar was tested for flexion (bending forward) and extension (bending to the back, and to the back, then left and right).
"Anwar sensed more pain to the left," he said.
9.56am: Hoogland shows the computer MRI scan on Anwar to demonstrate the extent of Anwar's injury.
10.11am: Hoogland, in reply to Yusof, says there was improvement following the surgery, but "we cannot make it heal it completely".
10.12am: He denies that the surgery alleviates the problem completely, and there is still significant pain.
Yusof asks for break. Judge orders the court to stand down for a few minutes.
more to follow
From Mahaganapathy Dass, via e-mail
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak promised Indian students that they will get longer breaks to celebrate Deepavali. He made this pledge at the launch of the 1Malaysia Indian Student Movement in July as one of his six promises to tackle welfare issues of Indian students.
Each year, students get s holiday only on the day of Deepavali by the universities and this deprives students from going home for Deepavali. An official circular from the Ministry of Education asking universities to reschedule exams and classes in order to provide a longer break for Deepavali, has been sent out to all public universities.
Almost all the universities have accepted this circular with an open heart and gladly rescheduled the universitys time table to allow a longer break for Deepavali. Some universities have even declared a weeks holiday for their Indian students.
However, it is a great disappointment that despite the promise made by the Prime Minister and followed by an official circular, many private universities have refused to make any amendments to their time table, the notable two being Multimedia University and Uniten.
There are more than 1,000 Indian students studying at both these respected universities and their actions seem to disregard the Prime Ministers move in looking after the welfare of all races.
Indian students in both these universities are given a holiday on Deepavali day. It is inconsiderate of them to expect students to go home and return to campus the same day.
If long breaks can be allocated by universities for Hari Raya and Chinese New Year, it should be done likewise for Deepavali.
Let us be fair in this matter so that Indian students at these universities are able to go home and spend time with their families. It is a shame for such universities to adopt the 1Malaysia concept but not match word with deed.
The writer is president of 1Mal! aysia In dian Student Movement
We will be going to Kuala Lumpur next week to meet Prime Minister (Najib Tun Razak) to brief him on what is happening in the party.
Later, we will submit a letter to Mawan asking him to step down to save the party, said a member of the group.
The member, who refused to be identified, said that all the five and their supporters met here to discuss their moves.
The five are Dr Tiki Lafe (Mas Gading MP and SPDP vice-president), Peter Nansian (Tasik Biru assemblyman and senior vice-president), Sylvester Entri (Marudi assemblyman and vice-president), Rosey Yunus (Bekenu assemblywoman and a supreme council member) and Paulus Gumbang (Batu Danau assemblyman and a supreme council member).
One of the moves is to demand that Mawan step down and the other to form a new party, said the member.
The rebel group claimed that it has the support of the federal and state leaders, pointing out that Yunus had been appointed as an assistant minster instead of Meluan assemblyman Wong Judat who was recommended by Mawan.
This indicates the state Barisan Nasional support for our group, the member said, adding that the group has also the backing of the majority of SPDP branches in the state.
Pledge to swim or sink together
The SPDP 5 and three other supreme council members walked out of a SPDP supreme council meeting in January last year when Mawan broke his promise to keep Entri as secretary-general by appointing Nelson Balang Rining.
The promise to retain Entri was made before the December 2! 009 part y election, and was apparently aimed at keeping Entri and his group from challenging Mawan and his men.
Since then, the SPDP 5 have failed to attend any of the supreme council meetings or functions organised by the party.
This act of defiance prompted the party to set up a disciplinary committee last month to deal with them.
The disciplinary panel headed by Safiq Abdullah met and issued show-cause letters.
Meanwhile, Nansian said that only Entri has so far received a show-cause letter a day before the state cabinet reshuffle.
The rest of us are still waiting, he said, adding that the letter cannot be issued personally to Entri, as the five had acted together as a group.
We have been recognised as a group. It is very simple Technically, if you touch one, you touch all, he said.
It is understood that during the meeting last week, the SPDP 5 and their followers pledged to swim or sink together.
It is also understood that the rebels have identified their own candidates for the four parliamentary seats allocated to the party.
While Lafe will be asked to defend his Mas Gading seat, the others Jelaing Mersat, Jacob Sagan Dunggau and Tiong King Sing will be dropped.
Mersat (Saratok), Dunggau (Baram) and Tiong (Bintulu) are the presidents men whom Mawan said would be re-nominated to defend their seats.
Pada hari Selasa, 5 Oktober, saya telah mempengerusikan mesyuarat MSC Malaysia Flagship Coordination Committee atau FCC, mengenai kemajuan projek-projek ICT Kerajaan seperti E-Government, Smart School, Telehealth dan sebagainya.
Pada akhir mesyuarat, Urus setia telah membentangkan FCC versi 2.0 mengenai hala tuju Jawatankuasa tersebut pada masa hadapan supaya lebih mantap serta selari dengan aspirasi dan hasrat kerajaan.
Namun, saya telah mencabar Urus setia serta ahli mesyuarat mengapa FCC 2.0?; mengapa tidak FCC 10.0? Adalah amat penting bagi kita merancang mengenai perkara-perkara yang lebih jauh ke masa hadapan dan bawanya ke hari ini, iaitu fikir dan laksanakannya sekarang baik dalam peranan kita di dalam jawatankuasa seperti FCC mahupun sebagai penjawat awam mahupun sebagai ahli Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Awam.
Pelukis terkemuka dunia, Leornardo Da Vinci, pada tahun 1480 telah mula melukis mengenai kapal terbang. Beliau mempunyai lebih 100 buah lukisan yang melakarkan pemikiran beliau mengenai mesin yang boleh membawa manusia untuk terbang.
Sebagaimana kita ketahui, penerbangan pertama yang berjaya dilakukan oleh manusia ialah pada 17 Disember 1903 oleh Orville Wright, iaitu lebih 400 tahun setelah Leornardo Da Vinci mula melukis mengenai penerbangan manusia.
Malah, helikopter yang kita lihat pada hari ini adalah berasaskan kepada reka bentuk yang dilakarkan oleh Leonardo da Vinci di dalam salah sebuah lukisannya yang dinamakan Ornithopter.
Begitu juga Jules Verne, penulis science fiction yang tidak asing lagi, pada tahun 1863 telah menulis sebuah novel bertajuk Paris in the Twentieth Century. Novel tersebut mengisahkan seorang pemuda yang tinggal di dalam sebu! ah bangu nan pencakar langit, perjalanan menaiki kereta api berkelajuan tinggi, kereta yang berkuasa gas, serta jaringan komunikasi seluruh dunia.
Namun, penerbit buku-buku beliau pada masa itu, mencadangkan supaya Verne menunggu 20 tahun lagi untuk menerbitkan bukunya. Verne menyimpan manuskripnya itu di dalam sebuah peti besi. Lebih 120 tahun kemudian, pada tahun 1989 seorang cicit beliau terjumpa manuskrip tersebut, dan pada tahun 1994 buku tersebut akhirnya diterbitkan.
Kalau saudara-saudari masih ingat, pada sekitar tahun 1993 dan 1994, masa buku beliau diterbitkan, Internet baru sahaja mula dikenali oleh masyarakat dunia sebagai saluran komunikasi penting, sedangkan Jules Verne telah pun berfikir mengenainya pada tahun 1863.
Ahead of the curve
Bertitik tolak dari cerita-cerita tersebut, cuba kita bayangkan apa yang dihasratkan oleh kerajaan dan rakyat terhadap peranan kita sebagai penjawat awam.
Bagaimana kita lihat peranan kita 20 tahun dari sekarang, atau seperti di dalam tulisan Jules Verne, 100 tahun dari sekarang. Seterusnya, kita fast forward dan laksanakannya pada hari ini juga.
Tidak perlu tunggu 20 tahun atau 100 tahun lagi untuk merealisasikannya. Dengan cara ini, pastinya kita akan sentiasa berada di hadapan keluk atau ahead of the curve aspirasi dan harapan stakeholders kita serta aspirasi dan harapan sendiri.
Asas utama kepada Program Transformasi Ekonomi yang sedang giat dilaksanakan oleh kerajaan pada masa ini, ialah sebuah sektor swasta yang cergas bagi menarik lebih banyak pelaburan, mewujudkan pekerjaan nilai tinggi, dan menempatkan Malaysia, negara kita di pasaran global untuk memacu pertumbuhan pendapatan tinggi yang berkekalan. Bagi menjayakan ini sokongan daripada sektor awam yang juga berprestasi tinggi adalah amat penting.
Mari kita sama-sama fikirkan apakah ciri-ciri yang perlu ada di dalam sektor awam yang berprestasi tinggi?
Pastinya yang paling utama adalah integriti; disiplin yang tinggi; bersih ! bukan d ari aspek fizikal sahaja, malah lebih penting termasuk juga tatalaku; berani; dan kompeten.
Pada hari Sabtu dan Ahad lepas, saya menerima delegasi dari Singapura sempena Malaysia-Singapore Joint Seminar and Civil Service Games. Rata-rata umur Setiausaha Tetap mereka, iaitu setara dengan Ketua Setiausaha Kementerian-Kementerian kita, adalah di dalam lingkungan umur empat puluhan sahaja.
Umur rakan sejawat saya, iaitu Peter Ong, Head of Civil Service of Singapore adalah 50 tahun sahaja. Dan beliau telah menjadi Setiausaha Tetap selama lebih 10 tahun.
Isu penting yang saya mahu utarakan bukanlah umur. Banyak diperkatakan akan kecekapan perkhidmatan awam Singapura. Malah diperkatakan seantero dunia bahawa pembangunan dan kemajuan Singapura hari ini disumbangkan sebahagian besarnya oleh perkhidmatan awamnya. Juga saya yakin dan percaya, yang juga diakui oleh pelbagai pihak akan sumbangan besar perkhidmatan awam kita terhadap kemajuan negara kita.
Namun demikian, mari kita cabar status quo bagaimana kita boleh lakukan lebih baik dari sekarang, lebih baik dari masa lepas, lebih baik dari masa kegemilangan kita. Bagaimana kita boleh lakukan lebih baik dari rakan-rakan kita di Singapura.
Malah, kita berusaha lakukan yang lebih baik daripada apa rakan-rakan di Singapura lakukan, supaya perkhidmatan awam kita pula menjadi bench mark bagi Singapura dan juga benchmark bagi negara-negara lain yang lebih maju di kala ini.
Sering kali kita mendengar ungkapan, input determines output and eventually outcome ataupun What you put into something is what you will get out of it.
Have a little faith
Begitu juga, kemasukan pegawai-pegawai yang berkualiti dan berprestasi tinggi, pastinya akan memastikan perkhidmatan awam yang turut berkualiti.
Proses pemilihan pegawai-pegawai untuk berkhidmat ke dalam Perkhidmatan Awam hendaklah stringent agar mereka yang terpilih adalah betul-betul yang akan membanggakan perkhidmatan awam, tetapi lebih penting d! ibanggak an oleh negara kita.
Pastinya pemilihan hendaklah berdasarkan merit, mereka yang mempunyai pengetahuan dan ada kemahiran, berketerampilan dan sikap yang sesuai.
Ini kerana pegawai-pegawai yang dipilih pada hari ini adalah penentu hala tuju perkhidmatan awam kita, hatta negara kita dalam tempoh 30 tahun atau lebih yang akan datang.
Maka, kita semua yang berperanan mencorak masa hadapan perlu menghayati Leonardo Da Vinci dan Jules Verne, betapa pentingnya kita perlu mengunjur atau project the scenario perkhidmatan awam di tahun-tahun mendatang, tetapi lebih baik dari Leornardo Da Vinci tidak perlu menunggu beratus-ratus tahun untuk dinikmati, kita alami penambahbaikan itu di hari ini juga.
Saya amat tertarik dengan sebuah cerita Have a Little Faith oleh Mitch Albom. Ia mengisahkan perihal seorang pemuda mencari pekerjaan di sebuah ladang. Beliau memberikan surat sokongan kepada bakal majikannya.
Di dalam surat sokongan tersebut hanya tertulis, Dia tidur di dalam ribut. Memandangkan beliau sangat memerlukan seorang pembantu, pemilik ladang tersebut terus mengambil pekerja itu bekerja di ladangnya.
Beberapa minggu berlalu, dan pada suatu malam, ribut yang kuat datang melanda. Terkejut dengan bunyi hujan lebat serta angin yang kuat, pemilik ladang melompat keluar dari bilik tidurnya dan menjerit memanggil pemuda yang baru diupahnya beberapa minggu yang lalu, tetapi pemuda tersebut sedang tidur dengan nyenyaknya. He slept through the storm.
Pemilik ladang terus berlari ke bangsal, tetapi dengan penuh hairan melihat semua haiwan peliharaan telah dikurung dengan selamat serta mempunyai makanan yang banyak. Pemilik ladang kemudiannya berlari ke ladang, dan melihat ikatan gandum yang dibalut kemas dengan kain tarpaulin serta tersusun yang amat rapinya.
Beliau seterusnya ke tempat simpan makanan, didapati pintu terkunci rapat dan bijirin dalam keadaan kering dan tersimpan dengan baik. Barulah pemilik ladang tadi memahami maksud Dia tidur di dalam ribut atau He sleeps ! in a sto rm. Pada saya mesejnya amatlah mudah tetapi penting.
Ciri-ciri yang terdapat pada pemuda tadi lah yang kita inginkan sebagai pewaris perkhidmatan awam negara kita.
Tekankan aspek punishment
Seorang yang cekap dan berpengetahuan serta tahu apa yang perlu dilaksanakan. Dalam apa jua keadaan pekerja yang hebat boleh tidur dengan nyenyak kerana telah bersiap sedia terlebih dahulu bagi menghadapi apa jua kemungkinan.
Tetapi yang lebih penting, kita yang memilih, mendidik dan mengasuh pekerja-pekerja untuk negara kita, kita akan dapat tidur dengan nyenyak dan lenanya kerana mendapat pekerja-pekerja yang boleh tidur dengan nyenyaknya.
Sebelum mengakhiri ucapan, ingin saya tegaskan bahawa pengurusan modal insan yang efektif tidak tertumpu kepada aspek reward semata-mata. Aspek punishment perlu juga ditekankan, khususnya bagi anggota-anggota yang melakukan kesalahan serta menyalahi peraturan dan undang-undang sedia ada.
Pada masa yang sama, ia akan juga memberi pengajaran serta iktibar kepada anggota lain agar tidak melakukan kesalahan yang boleh menjejaskan integriti serta kredibiliti perkhidmatan kita.
Dalam hubungan yang sama, perlu diwujudkan exit policy yang jelas bagi anggota-anggota yang bermasalah, yang tidak berdisiplin, mahupun mereka yang tidak menunjukkan prestasi perkhidmatan yang sepatutnya.
Perkara mengenai exit policy ini telah saya bangkitkan di dalam persidangan yang sama pada tahun 2007, namun demikian pelaksanaannya mungkin boleh diperbaiki lagi.
Mungkin aspek ini perlu dikaji untuk dimantapkan lagi pelaksanaannya, mahupun mendapatkan kaedah yang terbaik bagi melepaskan anggota-anggota yang bermasalah dari terus berkhidmat di dalam perkhidmatan awam.
Namun demikian, sebarang tindakan yang diambil hendaklah telus dan adil bagi mengelakkan sebarang penganiayaan.
Tan Sri Sidek Hassan adalah Ketua Setiausaha Negara. Ini adalah ringkasan ucapan beliau pada majlis penutup persidangan Suruhanjaya-Suruh! anjaya P erkhidmatan Awam Malaysia semalam.
All 125 detainees freed
By Eileen Ng
Part of move to repeal Restricted Residence Act, says PM
KUALA LUMPUR: All 125 people detained under the Restricted Residence Act will be freed immediately, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The Home Ministry would also revoke more than 200 warrants that it had issued but had not served, he said.
Najib, in announcing this when tabling a motion to repeal the act for the second reading in Parliament yesterday, described the move as a reasonable decision because the act was outdated and no longer relevant in these times.
He cited the principles of democracy and justice, and information and communication technology development and urbanisation as the main push factors.
I am standing in the august house today to start the process to fulfil the governments promise. It is very rare in the world for a ruling government to voluntarily reduce its powers.
However, my colleagues and I will not be distracted from our journey but are committed to do our best for the countrys harmony. This is only the beginning. The motion was unanimously passed by the house.
Later, when tabling a motion to repeal the Banishment Act for a second reading yesterday, Najib said the repeal was part of the governments aspirations for a fairer administrati! ve judic ial system and to uphold the principles of the Constitution.
DESIDERATA: THe NST report above is reprised partially, but we all know it's just the PM's demonstration as a follow-up to his word given during his Malaysia Day message delivered on Sept 15, 2011, but hey, where is his priority?
I'll expand on my question and comment after reprosducing another NST report; for readers who want to read the full account of the report above, here's the LINK:-
Read more: All 125 detainees freed http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/All125detaineesfreed/Article/#ixzz1a1TkJ2GB
The eye-opening report here follows, and it answers my question posed earlier:-
Law was meant to curb vice, gaming
By Lee Shi-Ian
KUALA LUMPUR: The initial objective of the Restricted Residence Act 1933 was to curb non-violent organised crimes, such as gambling and vice.
Under the act, the detainees' movements were restricted to a district where he was prohibited from entering a particular area depending on the decision of the home minister.
The minister may order a person to be placed under supervision for any period not exceeding f! ive year s and may renew any such order for a further period, not exceeding one year at any one time.
Once a person had been detained under the act, the detainee shall be required to reside within the limits of the area, town or village specified in the order.
The detainee was not permitted to transfer his residence to any other area, town or village without the written authority of the state police chief.
The detainee was also not allowed to leave his district without the approval of the state police chief.
The detainee must also keep the district police chief notified of his residential address and report or present himself to the nearest police station at the agreed times.
If the detainee was found to have contravened the terms and conditions of his order by leaving the district without prior written approval, he could be liable for imprisonment for up to three years.
Anyone found harbouring a detainee could be fined RM300, or imprisoned for up to six months.
However, the punishment was not applicable to the husband or wife of the detainee.
A police officer may also, without a warrant, arrest any person reasonably suspected of being in any area, town or village and contravening his order.
Read more: Law was meant to curb vice, gaming http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/22sire/Article/#ixzz1a1W39mOA
DESIDERATA: In fact, those affected by this ACT and had been detained are the proven menace to society, and Malaysians in general would have been quite happy if the Government had kept these "leeches" comprising vive operators, drug and human traffickers and illegal gaming and gambling operators -- in continued restriction.
I believe some of these elements had even received royal titles and I recall one occasion when then MCA Youth Chief Ong Tee ! Keat tha t some of these triad leaders had penetrated the party (MCA).
So the PM wants to demonstrate he means what he pledged to celebarte Malaysia Day last month, but the FIRST PRIORITY SHOULD HAVE BEEN THOSE DETAINED UNDER THE INTERNAL SECURITY ACT (ISA) and that the majority, or at least those who had served one term of two years -- except a few who have clear terrorist connections --should enjoy FIRST RELEASE! Most of these ISA detainees had been victimised because they were either Opposition leaders or supporters, and non-government organiosations' activists who have been anti-establishment.
As a citizen, I have no quarrel IF "The initial objective of the Restricted Residence Act 1933 was to curb non-violent organised crimes, such as gambling and vice. .." as stated by the NST in its opening para. In fact, I would even go as far to say: Maintain this provision under a related law after the Act had been abolished so that such "scum,s of the earthy" remain "dis-abled" as far as possible!