Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Selangor MB accuses Putrajaya of nepotism over KJ’s appointment

Selangor MB accuses Putrajaya of nepotism over KJ’s appointment

February 29, 2012
Malaysian Insider

Khalid said in a statement today that the PM should not “demean” the efforts of the Bumiputera professionals who have made PUNB what it is today by picking an individual who has no track record running a successful corporation. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 29 — Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin’s expected appointment to a key government agency shows Putrajaya still values political links above professionalism, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said today.

The Selangor mentri besar said Khairy’s appointment as Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd (PUNB) chairman will benefit Umno rather than Malays, and that it would be a step back for the Bumiputera community.

“While the Bumiputera have been encouraged to pursue the standard professionalism on par with the world’s best, the appointment clearly shows that political affiliation, and not capability and experience, makes the cut for top positions in government-linked corporations.

“As one of the founders of PUNB, I take great pride in the fact that it has thus far been led by professionals free from political interest. While there were politicians at the policy-making level, they did not interfere with the operations of the company,” he said in a statement.

The prime minister should not “demean” the efforts of the Bumiputera professionals who have made PUNB what it is today by picking Khairy, who has not shown he can run a successful corporation, Khalid added.

The Business Times reported yesterday that Khairy has been tapped to head PUNB, which sources told The Malaysian Insider is a move to ensure that the Umno Youth chief has better standing ahead of elections.

A source said Khairy, who is good with youths but has no official post outside the Barisan Nasional (BN) lynchpin, needs a government post to reinforce his position ahead of polls, which must be called by April 2013.

Putrajaya routinely appoints lawmakers to lead government agencies, which are seen as a training ground for their eventual appointment to Cabinet.

Khalid helped found PUNB in July 1991 to assist the development of Bumiputera entrepreneurial capacity by providing financial and corporate support to Bumiputera businessmen.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Charge NFCorp top guns with breaking companies law too, Pua tells A-G

Charge NFCorp top guns with breaking companies law too, Pua tells A-G

February 28, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — The Attorney-General must prosecute the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) directors for breaching the Companies Act by using shareholders’ money for their own personal gains, DAP MP Tony Pua said today.

The opposition lawmaker pointed out that the senior management officials tasked with running the national cattle farm had admitted to freely using its corporate account for individual purposes when they issued a recent statement to justify their actions.

“NFCorp had claimed that ‘the so-called ‘unrelated companies’ of NFCorp where the fund was channelled to were always meant to be the subsidiaries of NFCorp. However such a claim is in fact a clear admission of wrongdoing under the Companies Act,” Pua (picture) said in a statement today.

“The statement by NFCorp that ‘the directors of NFCorp sat on the board of these associate companies’ would ‘prove exactly the point of the attempt to rationalise’ the group of unrelated companies is in fact the exact offence which the Companies Act seeks to make illegal,” he stressed, referring to the firm run by senior Umno minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s husband and children.

Her husband, Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail, is chairman while son Wan Shahinur Izmir Salleh is its chief executive. Wan Shahimur Izran Salleh and Wan Izzana Fatimah Salleh are also heavily involved in managing NFCorp.

Pua was responding to NFCorp’s February 26 retort to Datuk Syed Ismail Syed Azizan, director of the police Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID), which had recommended the company executives be charged with criminal breach of trust (CBT).

In a statement, NFCorp claimed the police recommendation was “premature” and failed to take into account the “intentions” of its board.

The Petaling Jaya Utara MP had previously highlighted that the contract between NFCorp and Putrajaya specifically that stated the RM250 million government loan was strictly for the purpose of developing, nurturing and promoting the production of beef, but it had gone into buying luxury condominiums in Malaysia and Singapore.

He continued to slam the company for trying to mislead the public and pointed to a list of provisions under the Companies Act which NFCorp has allegedly broken.

Citing section 133 and 133A under the “Loans Prohibited” category, he noted that “a company shall not make a loan to a director of the company or of a company which by virtue of section 6 is deemed to be related to that company, or enter into any guarantee or provide any security in connection with a loan made to such a director by any other person”.

He said that under the law, even housing loans for employees and advances on expenditure to be incurred are considered legal only if the shareholder had given their approval beforehand.

“It is obvious in this case that no prior approval has been obtained from the Ministry of Finance which has a golden share in NFCorp,” Pua said, of NFCorp’s property purchases.

He added that section 133(4) of the same Act makes directors who break the prohibition “guilty of a criminal offence and such directors are made jointly and severally liable to indemnify the company against any resulting losses”.

NFCorp hit the headlines after it made it into the Auditor-General’s Report last year, and has continued to hog the limelight after it was linked to Shahrizat and her family.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Experts contradict each other over Lynas | Free Malaysia Today

Experts contradict each other over Lynas

Stephanie Sta Maria | February 27, 2012-FMT

An epidemiologist shoots down a nuclear scientist's claim that the LAMP is safe.

PETALING JAYA: A public health scientist has rubbished recent assurances made by a nuclear scientist that the radiation levels due to be produced by the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) are within “safe thresholds”.

Last Friday, Hulu Langat MP Dr Che Rosli Che Mat reiterated that the LAMP was safe and should be allowed to operate as long as Lynas adhered to strict safety standards and regulations.

In an interview last year, he had reprimanded Lynas’ detractors for frightening the public by branding the LAMP a nuclear plant when it would only produce natural materials.

But Dr Chan Chee Khoon, who is also an epidemiologist, suggested that Rosli might have been unaware of the long-standing debate among radiation biologists over the adequacy and relevance of the models on which these “safe thresholds” were derived.

He pointed out that a expert panel in the United Kingdom was unable to agree on the health risks of low level exposure to internal emitters in 2004.

“Opinions among the panel members ranged from negligible adverse effects to an underestimation of risk by at least 100-fold,” Chan said in a press statement today.

“In short, nobody really knows at this point how hazardous the LAMP may turn out to be, given that much of the radioactive sold waste will be in powdery form.”

Chan reminded Lynas’ supporters that the Asian Rare Earths (ARE) refinery in Bukit Merah was similar to Lynas in that it had no long-term waste management plan.

“Ad-hoc arrangements including the aborted Papan dumpsite eventually led to a situation of indiscriminate, clandestine dumping of radioactive thorium-cake waste in and around Ipoh,” he said.

Lynas had yet to come up with a concrete waste disposal plan although the issuance of its temporary operating licence was dependent on its submission of a blueprint and location of its planned Permanent Disposal Facility (PDF).

The Australian mining giant’s plan to return the waste to the source in a worst-case scenario had also been cast in doubt after the Western Australian government repeated its refusal to accept Lynas Malaysia’s waste.

“The Kuantan community will face the prospects of unknown numbers of dumpsites at unknown locations scattered around Ipoh if Lynas doesn’t come up with an acceptable plan,” Chan warned.

‘Wishful thinking’

He also called Lynas’ plan to recycle radioactive waste as additives in the manufacturing of cement and gypsum products as “wishful thinking” and predicted that it would soon become a national issue.

“For the last 30 years asbestos cement products have been progressively phased out in the construction industry and Lynas is now proposing to add a carcinogen to construction materials,” he said.

“Will these products even be saleable when word gets out and people start wondering what’s drifting down from their ceiling boards and roofs?”

These are arguments that Chan had repeatedly put forth over the past year but had gone unheeded.

“In asserting that the LAMP was ‘unquestionably safe’, Rosli, Lynas and the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) have recklessly abandoned the precautionary principle,” he stated.

“The Kuantan-Kemaman community will end up as lab rats in a natural experiement.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Good turnout for anti-Lynas rallies | Free Malaysia Today

Good turnout for anti-Lynas rallies

Stephanie Sta Maria | February 26, 2012-FMT

The protesters, mainly youth, were armed with handmade signs and glossy posters printed with anti-Lynas slogans.


Protesters at Maju Junction, KL

KUALA LUMPUR: Lynas Corporation Ltd’s rare earth plant may be in Gebeng but Kuala Lumpur residents are standing in solidarity with their Kuantan counterparts in calling for Lynas to be kicked out of Malaysia.

Maju Junction was awash in various shades of green this morning as about at least 500 people gathered for the nationwide Himpunan Hijau 2.0 rally. The number of protesters grew as time went by.

The protesters, mainly youth, were armed with handmade signs and glossy posters printed with anti-Lynas slogans.

Anti-Lynas protesters at KL

A few brought along their children who carried posters and flashed shy smiles.

Police presence was light with most of the personnel observing the rally from a distance. One of them tentatively asked what the ruckus was about and frowned in puzzlement when told it was an anti-Lynas protest.

The morning began with a mime depicting the repercussions of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP), followed by a sing-a-long of popular songs like “What A Wonderful World” and “Green Green Grass of Home”.

The crowd later split into two groups with the first sitting on the ground listening to various speeches and the second lining up along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman to wave posters at honking cars.

Kamikaze route

anti Lynas posters at KL rally

anti Lynas posters at KL rally

Haris Ibrahim of Asalkan Bukan Umno (ABU), one of the rally organisers, said he was chuffed at the turnout.

“I’m totally bowled over at the size of the crowd and the fact that so many youths are here,” he beamed. “It’s so bizarre because the rakyat was opposed to this (Lynas plant) from the word “go” and yet the government pushed ahead.”

“Why are they taking this kamikaze route especially on an election year?”

The protesters at Kl started thinning down by about 12.30pm.

Simultaneously rallies are being held in Perak, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak with the biggest in Kuantan.

Huge crowd in Kuantan

Protesters in Kuantan

About 15,000 people gathered in Kuantan since 9.30am to oppose Lynas. The crowd was joined by PKR leaders, including Anwar Ibrahim, and Bersih 2.0 chairman S Ambiga.

According to a dpa report, the Kuantan protesters beat drums, danced and chant slogans denouncing the Lynas plant.

The protesters said waste from the plant could expose residents to harmful levels of radiation and cause severe environmental damage.

The protesters dispersed peacefully at about 1pm.

huge crowd at Kuantan anti Lynas rally

huge crowd at Kuantan anti Lynas rally

Lynas meanwhile said that it had complied with all safety regulations.

“At the LAMP, we comply with the highest international and Malaysian regulations and standards, making sure that we meet and exceed rigorous health, safety and environment regulations,” the
company said in paid newspaper advertisements Sunday.

“Another Lynas value is to operate in a safe, honest and transparent manner,” it added.

anti lynas protesters along Jalan TAR in KL

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation said Lynas would have to meet five conditions before it can operate the plant.

“The health and safety of workers, the public and the environment has the government’s highest priority,” it said in local newspaper advertisements.

“Strict laws and regulations have been enacted to ensure that the interest of the people will be safeguarded.”

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Police want NFCorp directors charged with CBT

Police want NFCorp directors charged with CBT

UPDATED @ 08:36:47 PM 25-02-2012
February 25, 2012
Malaysian Insider

MACC investigators arrive at the NFCorp office in Kuala Lumpur, December 23, 2011. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — Police have asked the Attorney-General’s Chambers to charge National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) directors with criminal breach of trust after opposition politicians claimed a part of the government’s RM250 million soft loan was used for other purposes.

CCID Director Datuk Syed Ismail Syed Azizan confirmed the matter with several media organisations this evening.

“We are recommending to the Attorney-General’s Chambers that all NFCorp directors be charged (for CBT),” he told The Malaysian Insider.

NFCorp, which operates the national cattle-farming project, is chaired by federal minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s husband, Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail. Their three children also hold executive posts in the company.

The NFC hit the headlines after it made it into the Auditor-General’s Report last year, and has continued to hog the limelight after it was linked to Shahrizat and her family.

Shahrizat maintains that she has no links to the family-run project.
Since then, PKR has revealed numerous startling exposes over the scandal-ridden project, including allegations that millions of ringgit have been siphoned off for land, property and personal expenses unrelated to cattle farming.

But recently, in response to claims that NFCorp had purchased two luxury condominiums worth RM34 million in Singapore’s posh Marina Bay Suites, Shahrizat’s son Wan Shahinur Izmir had explained that the company had decided that it would make better use of the money by investing in property during a break in business operations.

The break, said Wan Shahinur Izmir, was caused by the government’s decision to suspend the construction of an abattoir that would have been rented to NFCorp.

According to the DAP’s Tony Pua, however, the Finance Ministry had told a parliamentary committee last November that there was no provision that permits the NFCorp to use its federal loan to purchase property.

Earlier today, Pua revealed the NFCorp’s loan agreement, which he claimed proved that the company had violated conditions attached to the RM250 million facility.

Since the scandal exploded in the media, Shahrizat has been faced with repeated calls for her resignation, even from her colleagues in Umno. But she has insisted that the project had nothing to do with her.

The Wanita Umno chief applied for three weeks’ leave from her ministerial duties last month when new allegations of bribery surfaced. She has since resumed her duties.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced last month Putrajaya would appoint an auditor to scrutinise NFCorp’s books in light of accusations made against the company, but dismissed calls for a royal commission of inquiry into the NFC.

The land is there, we will raise the necessary building fund, so what more excuse is there for the BN government not to build a new Chinese primary sc

Press Conference Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on Saturday, February 25, 2012


The land is there, we will raise the necessary building fund, so what more excuse is there for the BN government not to build a new Chinese primary school and a new SMK in Bercham?

Presently, over 90% of the Chinese population sends their children to Chinese primary schools.

Although more parents are now sending their children to Chinese independent schools , government secondary schools ( Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan-SMK) is the main choice for most of the Chinese parents when their children complete their education at Chinese primary school.

Presently, there are 27 Chinese primary schools and 8 SMK in Ipoh.

It is therefore clear that there is a shortage of SMK in Ipoh. The problem is even more acute in Bercham, a fast growing area.

There is no SMK within Bercham area which includes Tasek, Chemor and Tanjung Rambutan.

Yet, in Bercham is located a Chinese primary school with the highest student enrolment.

Therefore, there is an urgent need for Bercham to have a new Chinese primary school as well aSMK.

But till today, the Education Ministry has not been responsive and sensitive to the people’s needs and demands.

MCA politicians have on many occasions talked about wanting to help fulfill the Bercham people’s needs, but till today they have not been able to deliver.

Their talk remains as empty talk.

Last week, when the MCA President Chua Soi Lek visited Berrcham, he was presented with a memorandum requesting for a SMK to be built in Bercham, Ipoh.

The Bercham people’s request is not a new issue. And Datuk Chua certainly does not need any further time to study.

Let’s see when and whether Datuk Chua can make a promise that MCA can deliver on this issue.

In the last few years, I have spoken up on this Bercham issue inside and outside the Parliament.

But the government which is now helmed by a Prime Minister who has declared that “People First, Performance Now” has continued to ignore the plight of the Bercham people.

As the people’s elected representative, I shall continue to speak up for them.

I shall again raise the Bercham issue in the coming sitting of Parliament which begins on 12th March2012.

As I have previously pointed out, since a 7 acre land which is some 2km from the site of present Bercham school has been gazetted to build a school but it is still vacant for over 10 years, it ought to be utilized to build a new secondary and a Chinese primary school.

If the BN is unwilling to fund the building the cost, give us the necessary permits and conditions, we will raise public fund to build the schools.

The land is there, we will raise the necessary building fund, so what more excuse is there for the BN government not o build a new Chinese primary school and a new SMK in Bercham?

Any government must give priority to provide land for farmers

Press statement by M.Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on Friday, February 24, 2012.

Any government must give priority to provide land for farmers

The farmers issue at Jelapang has now taken to the worse when with the help of the land office personnel,s the farmers were forcibly evicted yesterday.

Over 12 farmers have been farming at this place since 1977. Although many have applied for the land from the government, their applicatiosn were unsuccessful.

In 1987, the Perak BN government approved the said land to be a housing area for the squatters.

Many of the farmers are vegetable growers and two of them are rearing cows and goats.

The majority of the farmers are in their 60’s and 70’s and farming is their only main source of income.

Why these farmers were evicted even before they were relocated? Why couldn’t the government look for some other alternative land for the relocation of squatters rather then grabbing this land of the farmers?

Further how is the government going to reduce our import of food which now is about 20billion a year?

It is a known fact that in many areas in Perak, land are left unattended and not cultivated. Why can’t these lands be given to the farmers who are from the lower income group.

Today, Richard Leong (my political secretary) RK Muthu-ex Assemblyman of Teja, Jermy Chuah( my secretary) and Segaran Ipoh Barat Chairman were all present at the Ipoh land office to meet up with the Assistant District Officer:

1) to complain the undue force used on the farmers by the land office personals

2) to look for an alternative place for all the farmers

3) To seek reasonable compensation for the farmers

The ADO agreed to our suggestion to arrange for a meeting between the farmers and the developer. The meeting willd be held at the Ipoh land office at 3pm. The land office will help to mediate for a settlement.

Further the farmers will be given priority in locating a piece of land for farming

Friday, February 24, 2012

My debate transcript — Lim Guan Eng

My debate transcript — Lim Guan Eng

February 23, 2012
Malaysian Insider

FEB 23 — First of all, I would like to thank the organisers for this live televised debate. Televised debates mark a new chapter in Malaysian political democracy because it is an important element in the democratisation process. I hope that from today onwards, televised debates will be a common phenomenon in the Malaysian democratic system just like in Europe and the United States.

Thus, I believe what Malaysians really want to see is a debate between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, to see who really deserves to be prime minister. Whoever isn’t brave enough to debate, don’t hope to think of becoming prime minister.

Chua Soi Lek suggested that DAP is being used by PAS. If we observe Umno amongst the Malays, Umno claims that PAS is being used by DAP. Therefore, I believe this self-contradictory statement is a dirty tactic employed by BN. I wish to stress here that Pakatan Rakyat component parties, be it PAS, PKR or DAP, we never use each other. We are only prepared to be “used” by the people! At the same time, we are also not anti-Malay or even anti-non-Malay; we are merely against a government that is riddled with corruption!

I feel that today’s theme, “Is A Two-Party System Becoming a Two-Race System?”, is quite strange. Because, there already exists a two-race system at the present moment, and we want to change it into a two-party system. This two-race system, which is BN’s long-held ideology since independence until now, has BN dividing the people into Malays and non-Malays, this is a “divide-and-rule” strategy. The Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had said, “I am a Malay first, then only a Malaysian.” Is this 1 Malaysia or is this Bluff (Tipu) Malaysia? This is indeed a two-race system.

On the other hand, a two-party system is premised on ideology, ideals and principles, without racial discrimination because we are all Malaysians.

In BN, Umno only takes care of the Malays, MCA only takes care of the Chinese, MIC only takes care of the Indians, Gerakan... I don’t know takes care of who???.... That’s BN with their “you take care of your race, I take care of my race”. That is a two-race system! Conversely, in a two-party system, we are all brothers and sisters, we take care of each other; every Malaysian is part of one big family!

Umno always proclaims “Malay Supremacy”. Does the MCA not see this, hear this or feel this, and thus are not brave enough to stand up to them? Hence, we still hear that the Chinese are immigrants (pendatang) and do not deserve equal rights.

PR is different from BN. We don’t want “Malay Supremacy”, what we want is “Rakyat (People) Supremacy”! Anwar not only speaks about “Rakyat Supremacy” in front of non-Malays, but he also says the same thing to the Malays. Will Umno leaders dare to stop proclaiming “Malay Supremacy” and instead support “Rakyat Supremacy”.

When the people or PR leaders expose abuse of power or corruption and question the police or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, we are accused of challenging the Malay institutions — this is a two-race system, because corruption does not discriminate against the colour of one’s skin. The late Ahmad Sarbaini, the Customs officer who lost his life, is he not a human being?

Pakatan Rakyat wants to abolish corruption, BN wants corruption. PR wants to ensure leaders who are honest and a government that is clean, including public declaration of assets of government leaders, open tenders, now this is a two-party system! Most importantly, the real corrupt officers must be caught, and not slandering the poor innocent Teoh Beng Hock.

My opponent always says: “Other races become government, Chinese become opposition”. This is totally wrong. In truth, “BN MCA becomes opposition, PR DAP becomes government” is what worries MCA. Not only does the Chinese support PR to bring change, the Malays do so as well, if not PR would not have been able to gain 40 per cent Malay support and the political tsunami would not have happened. Without the political tsunami I believe I would not have the opportunity to stand here as the chief minister of Penang and Chua would not have the chance to become the president of the MCA.

In a democratic system, a two-party system requires alternating governments. Let the BN fall and become the opposition, let PR rise to become the government. If PR does not rule well, then the people have the right to change again after five years. This is a two-party system, with alternating parties ruling, only then will the people have a better life.

Question from the moderator:

The Chinese community have welcomed a two-party system since 1980. If we refer to the 2008 results, the amount of votes given to BN and PR are about the same. This shows that half the people are happy with BN while the other half harbour hopes for PR. Does this mean that both parties have achieved a two-party system? How would your party seek to win the other half?

Answer from LGE:

If PR is given the chance to rule, our policy will bring benefits to the people. Today, inflation is rising, our income is not enough to make ends meet. We want to reduce the people’s burden. If we become government, we will abolish the North-South Expressway and the Penang Bridge tolls. We will also increase oil royalties from five per cent to 20 per cent for Sabah and Sarawak.

I know, since Penang gave RM100 to senior citizens every year, BN has copied. Not only BN has copied, MCA too has copied. So, besides thanking Chua, they (MCA members) should also thank the Penang state government. If we take power at the federal level, we wish to inform all 2.1 million senior citizens in the country that we promise to give RM1,000 every year. These are the benefits of alternating governments. They are judged on their policies. We want to become a policy state not a police state.

Answers for the Q&A session:

LGE: Was that Perak exco Ma Han Soon? I think we all know that when PR was the government in Perak, it was PR which started the initiative to grant land to schools and permanent land titles to new village residents and the poor. However, since BN became government, this has been abolished. Because of that, I feel that you have no right to question anyone.

On the question of the Penang state government making empty promises, I wish to stress that we have fulfilled all our election promises. On why the Sungai Nyior toll has not been abolished, we must remember that this is under the power of the federal government. We have not taken over the federal government, so be patient.... When we have taken over the federal government, of course we will abolish it, as well as the North-South Expressway and the Penang Bridge tolls. However, even though we have not abolished the Sungai Nyior toll, we have built a road to bypass the toll plaza, so it is the same, no need to pay toll.

The success of Penang, I believe, has been proven. After March 2008, everyone can see, touch and feel the changes that have happened. In Peninsular Malaysia, the first dual lingual road signs in Chinese were erected in Penang. The first Tamil road signs in Malaysia are also in Penang. For the first time in Penang, we also have road signs in Arabic, all due to the success of the PR government. Penang’s success in combating corruption is also notable, resulting in praise from Transparency International. If there are people who are guilty, we will not let them get off scot-free, and the fact the Penang has zero corruption has been recognised by an international organisation. When we say we don’t take money, we don’t take money. Thank you.

Questions to each other:

CSL: We hear populist policies, giving RM100, abolish this, abolish that... Can you, on this stage, tell us what is the community development and economic model of Pakatan Rakyat so that Malaysia can escape the low-income trap and achieve high-income status, including implementing the promises in the Buku Jingga?

LGE: I believe this is the difference between myself and Chua. He is not anxiously concerned about corruption, while I am very anxiously concerned about corruption. We need to have a framework for administrating the country’s affairs. What is the plan to bring economic development? I wish to use the Penang model as an example.

This is the result of the Penang Pakatan Rakyat state government’s practice of “money makes money”. This system stresses four key aspects. First, “money raise money” through co-operation between the private and public sectors (Public Private Partnerships) in executing development projects. Secondly is “money earns money” through an open tender system, the state government can cut costs. Third is “money creates money” through innovation and creativity. Finally, “money saves money”. If we don’t take money, for sure there will always be money to be saved.

Therefore, the Penang state government has enjoyed a budget surplus every year for four years, and is able to give back to the people through our Senior Citizens Programme with RM 100 every year, and RM1,000 one-off to beneficiaries of senior citizens who pass away. Even newborn babies get RM200 under our Golden Child Programme. When Barisan Nasional was ruling Penang, not a single sen was given, but with the principle of “money makes money”, we have given benefits to the people of Penang, and this is actually an anti-corruption dividend!

In addition to that, in Malaysia, I believe that if we abolish corruption, we will be able to save a lot of money and give back to the people. This is our promise, Penang is the best proof! If we dare to fight corruption, we will definitely have money. Thank you.

Answers to the Q&A and Conclusion, LGE:

First of all, I would like to rebut certain accusations that the Penang state government has not given land to Chinese schools. I feel this is not only lying to yourself but also lying to others. This is because we have proof, even the schools can verify that the Pakatan Rakyat government has given land. Don’t forget, the Pakatan Rakyat state government has now institutionalised allocations to all school streams, not just Chinese schools, also Tamil schools, Sekolah Agama Rakyat or religious schools and private Chinese schools. Before, there was nothing, and now they receive yearly allocations.

Here, I would like to make a plea to all Malaysians. Be brave enough to change, we must not surrender our destiny to fate. We deserve equal opportunities. No longer must we kneel down and beg. We must boldly rise up with dignity to seek change! We do not want to be lied to anymore, change now! Look, the MCA president too has changed, for the first time he is debating with the Rocket. But this debate is not as important as whether MCA dares to say “No” to Umno?

Why say “No” to Umno? Because Umno uses racial and religious sentiments, including supporting Perkasa to inflame and divide the people! Secondly, Umno abuses laws that impinge upon human rights. Umno condones corruption, Shahrizat’s case with the cows is only the tip of the iceberg. Even more serious, in the last 10 years, RM1 trillion of illicit funds (corruption money) has been illegally taken out of the country. How do we account for this? This is why we want a two-party system.

As what the former MCA president Ong Tee Keat described MCA’s co-operation with Umno. He said, “Before at least MCA could eat the leftovers dishes on the table, but now the best they can hope for are the breadcrumbs.”

Many Malays have not enjoyed the fruits of development of this country. They don’t get RM250 million to raise cows, because most of the “good fruits” have been eaten by BN cronies, leaving to the people only the “dead” fruits.

The problems faced by the Chinese community, I believe, everyone knows there are many problems. Besides the problem of the private school certificates (UEC) not being recognised, Chinese schools do not get enough allocation funds, teachers who are not proficient in Chinese are sent to Chinese schools, there are also problems with temporary teachers that have not been resolved. But issues of unequal access to the economy and jobs, I believe are not only faced by the Chinese, but also by other races. That is why we have to take this chance to work together with the other races to bring about change.

What we stress now is about the future of our children. The future of my generation has already been robbed by BN for 50 years, don’t let our children’s future be robbed as well. Therefore, we are awaiting the chance to change.

This morning before I came, I told my daughter that if given the chance, I would like to be the voice of her generation. I hope to provide policies that will enable you to live here and not to migrate. We must give importance to talent. Remember, only by appreciating, emphasising and choosing talent can the future of Malaysia be bright and prosperous.

Look at South Korea, in 1970, their average per capita income was only US$260 in 1970 Malaysia was better, we had US$380 then. However, South Korea has now surpassed Malaysia. Now, our average income is US$7,760 while South Korea has reached US$20,000! Why has South Korea become a high-income nation while Malaysia has failed? The main factor is that South Korea is a democratic country, practices a two-party system, has an alternating change of government. Therefore, if we want to change, if we want Malaysia to become a high-income nation, we must be brave to rise up for change, we must be brave to realise a two-party system. This path is not easy, but I wish to remind everyone, our co-operation with PAS, PKR is based on a written manifesto. It has been announced in public, PAS has their ideology, DAP has our ideology, but don’t forget, PAS has never caused the death of a single Chinese. Let us be strong, will ourselves to change. Even though the path may be difficult, but for the sake of our younger generation, we must complete this journey of change!

* Lim Guan Eng is the Penang chief minister and DAP secretary-general

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pakatan states proof of economic success, proper governance, say leaders

Pakatan states proof of economic success, proper governance, say leaders

February 23, 2012
Malaysian Insider

Lim said PR’s policies were not ‘divided by race’ and that their goal was to help all Malaysians. — Pictures by Choo Choy May
PETALING JAYA, Feb 23 — High investment figures, budget surpluses and reduction of debts in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) states are proof that the federal opposition is ready to take a shot at governing the country, its leaders have asserted.

PR leaders told participants at a DAP fund-raising function here last night that while Barisan Nasional (BN) could only resort to giving one-off RM500 aid to Malaysians while still pouring out billions of ringgit worth of taxpayers’ money in projects which are shrouded in secrecy, PR states have managed to save money as well as increase investment and productivity in less than four years.

Leading the fray was Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who gave the 3,500-odd crowd a blow-by-blow list of the state’s achievements and successes since 2008, and stressed that unlike BN, PR’s policies were not “divided by race” and that their goal was to help all Malaysians.

“Malaysia will become bankrupt because of cronyism, corruption. The (current) federal government debt is RM456 billion. If Malaysia goes bankrupt, who pays? Najib? Rosmah? It’s you and me, ordinary people,” exclaimed Lim to loud cheers from the Chinese-majority crowd.

The Bagan MP said the issue of debt should be a concern for all Malaysians, and pointed out how his state administration had managed to reduce Penang’s debt level from RM630 million in 2008 to just RM30 million last year.

“We have also recorded budget surpluses every year, turned around loss-making (state) government companies and local authorities,” added the Penang CM.

Nurul Izzah highlighted the government’s move in borrowing RM1.5 million from the EPF to help unqualified home buyers.
Lim pointed out that three PR states (Penang, Selangor and Kedah) were listed in the top five states which recorded the highest levels of approved manufacturing investment last year.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry released figures this week that showed that the federal opposition-controlled states of Penang and Selangor had recorded the highest levels of approved manufacturing investment in 2011, at RM9.1 billion and RM8.74 billion respectively.

This is the second year in a row that Penang and Selangor have topped the ranks for approved manufacturing investment and a sharp contrast to 2009 when Sarawak attracted the highest levels of manufacturing investment and Penang came in fourth.

Kedah, another PR state, came in fifth in 2011 with RM6.13 billion, behind BN-controlled Sarawak which was in third place at RM8.45 billion and Johor with about RM6.5 billion.

“Who says investors won’t come if Pakatan Rakyat rules Malaysia?” asked Lim.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed had said that Penang had done well since the 1980s due to strong support from the federal government.

He also said that not all federal opposition-controlled states had done well.

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar hit out at Mustapa for his remarks, and asked what the minister has done for Kelantan since he is the Jeli MP.

“What has Tok Pa done to assist the Kelantanese except deny them RM800 million in oil revenue?” she said last night.

“You judge a government, its leader based on his Cabinet,” said Nurul Izzah, who charged that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak took “good care” of his own people in reference to inaction over the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) issue involving Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and her family.

She also highlighted the government’s move in borrowing RM1.5 million from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to help unqualified home buyers purchase low-cost homes from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), and questioned the 6.5 per cent interest rate to be imposed on home buyers.

“The loan will be managed by a special purpose vehicle (SPV) which will be led by Raja Datuk Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin. The SPV gets one per cent in terms of service charge,” she said.

DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua said BN and Umno leaders have resorted to publicly attacking PR governments without basis, citing the Bayan Mutiara land sale as an example.

“They keep talking about how it was negotiated... the highest bidder won the open tender. What was negotiated was the payment option for the bidder. Instead of paying over a period of eight years, we wanted payment to be over five years,” said Pua.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Penang thanks Miti, Mida for FDI gains

Penang thanks Miti, Mida for FDI gains

The Penang government today thanked International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority for helping Penang top the manufacturing investment list in 2011.

NONE“The late Dr Lim Chong Eu should not be forgotten for his legacy in laying the foundation of an industrial state that has enabled the present government to build on this singular success,” said Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng in a statement today.

He said the two consecutive years of success were “unexpected” for a small state with no natural resources, and gave “full credit” for this to the 1.6 million Penangites.

azlanHe also said that open tenders and declarations of assets by Penang office holders have “inspired investor confidence”.

“The Pakatan Rakyat Penang government is proud to be part of this historic success and will continue (its) governance based on competency, accountability and transparency,” he said.

Yesterday Mustapa had announced that Penang topped the list, attracting RM9.1 billion approved manufacturing investment in 2011, but had lost out to Sarawak by about RM300 million in total investment.

The minister also said that states held by Pakatan Rakyat - including Selangor which came in second in the manufacturing investment list - should not take full credit for the success.

He noted that this was also due to Mida's hard work, political stability and federal investment in infrastructure.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Perak Pakatan demands explanation over highway contract

Perak Pakatan demands explanation over highway contract

February 21, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — Perak Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders cried foul today over the award of a lucrative RM2.2 billion highway contract to companies linked to former Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi and Umno lawyer Datuk Hafarizam Harun, two key figures in the Perak constitutional crisis of 2009.

They demanded both men and the Najib administration explain the award and yesterday’s allegation by controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin that the deal was Barisan Nasional’s (BN) gift for their help in toppling PR in the northern state.

“(Prime Minister Datuk Seri) Najib Razak and the Works Ministry must come out to refute this allegation with proof that they carried out an open tender process and the award was based on the firms’ proper qualifications, track record and expertise in the field.

“As an MP and the former mentri besar of Perak, I demand an explanation from the authorities... failing which, this allegation would hold true,” PAS’s Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin told The Malaysian Insider.

Nizar, who once led the Perak PR government, said the allegation was unsurprising as both men had been central figures during the year-long constitutional impasse that saw an endless series of legal suits mounted.

As an example, the Bukit Gantang MP said Hafarizam had even joined an Umno delegation to several Middle Eastern countries like Jordan, Syria and Egypt in a bid to justify the ruling party’s power grab on the point of law to Malaysian students there.

Nizar’s former colleague in the Perak PR government, Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham, shared his sentiment.

The Perak DAP chief charged that both Hafarizam and Zaki had already “compromised their principles” by allowing their political affiliations to interfere with their duties in the legal profession.

“With or without this allegation, these two have already soiled their careers,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

The Beruas MP, who once held the post of senior state executive councillor in the Perak PR government, pointed out that Zaki was once Umno’s disciplinary board chairman and has appeared numerous times for Umno cases.

“Such persons should never be a judge, let alone the country’s Chief Justice. He is obviously biased. Obviously, his appointment was political,” he said.

Ngeh also raised a complaint against Hafarizam, whom he alleged had once warned all government-linked companies and state agencies against engaging DAP’s team of lawyers for any legal matter.

He claimed the prominent lawyer had done so openly and even through the media, clearly indicating that the latter had lost his “sense of professionalism”.

“He (Hafarizam) tried to instil fear in the legal profession whereby under the Act, we are supposed to act without fear or favour and uphold justice,” said Ngeh.

In a blog posting yesterday, Raja Petra alleged that the Najib administration have awarded the contract for the construction of the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) to Emrail Sdn Bhd And Zabima Engineering Sdn Bhd as a reward to the two men for their role in the infamous Perak power grab of 2009.

Hafarizam is a director in both firms while Zaki’s wife, Toh Puan Nik Sazlina Mohd Zain, is a director in Emrail.

Hafarizam confirmed the award today but said that any suggestion of a deal struck because of his role in the Perak constitutional crisis in 2009 was “tainted with mala fide (bad faith) and intended to bring me and Tun Zaki into public odium, scandal and disrepute.”

“This is a serious allegation. The prime minister must respond to it because it not only concerns the question of transparency and accountability in public works projects but also the independence of judiciary.

“Whether or not it is true, whether there is substance to this claim, there should be a full response from the prime minister,” DAP’s Ipoh Timor MP Lim Kit Siang told The Malaysian Insider when contacted.

“Both the government and the named persons should explain the allegation. Why was the project awarded to their company if not for the Perak case?

“Their involvement in the case and ‘reward’ look very fishy,” said Perak PKR vice-chairman Chang Lih Kang.

The Edge Financial Daily had reported on February 17 that the government had called a tender for the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex).

The announcement mentioned that seven companies are bidding for the job, which includes Bina Puri, Mudajaya, and Pesona Metro Sdn Bhd.

“The tenders are just out and it is not certain yet on the tenure of the concession as the CA has not been finalised,” said a source.

The highway will link Kinrara and Pusat Bandar Damansara and will divert traffic on the LDP.

According to The Edge, the concession was suppose to be awarded to PLUS Expressways but Pesona Metro Sdn Bhd has been tipped as a frontrunner for the project.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Kula: MIC stance on debates obsolete

Kula: MIC stance on debates obsolete

DAP vice-chairperson and MP for Ipoh Barat, M Kulasegaran, expressed disappointment with the stance of MIC deputy president Dr S Subramaniam that his party was not keen to debate issues with the opposition.

Dr Subramaniam was reacting to a developing trend for debates between leaders of political parties on issues of national and ethnic import.

The trend showed a spike in the wake of last Saturday’s keenly-followed televised debate between MCA president Dr Chua Soik Lek and DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

NONE“I’m disappointed with the stance of the MIC deputy leader on the need for debates,” said Kulasegaran (left) while visiting flash flood- affected areas in his constituency in Ipoh this morning.

“Dr Subramaniam appears caught in a time warp. These are times when a more educated and aware public wants to know the position and calibre of political leaders in the testing conditions of public debate,” opined the three-term legislator.

Dr Subramaniam, the Human Resources Minister, was reported by Bernama to have said: “I feel it is not necessary for us (to hold debate), but if there people who want to do, they can do it … but we will not do it.”

Kulasegaran said rising public awareness is forcing politicians to be quick and savvy on their feet on national and ethnic concerns.

“Consequently, people want to see if elected politicians can stand on their feet and deliver an explanation and defence of their policy positions,” said Kula.

“The willingness of leaders to subject their stances to public debate and scrutiny would reflect on their capability to lead, though that quality alone is not the whole of the range of abilities that he or she requires these days,” explained Kula.

“Nevertheless, the ability to debate is an important requirement in these days of television’s pervasive presence, and so a reluctance to submit to its test reflects poorly on a leader,” argued Kula.

Ipoh flash floods are avoidable

Unusually heavy rain in Ipoh this early morning. Visited all the affected areas. Thanks to volunteers and helpers who have made our work easy.
Ipoh flash floods are avoidable

Heavy rain started in Ipoh about 1am this morning. It only stopped at about 5.30am and resulted in flash floods.

The main areas affected were Merdaka Garden, Hock Aun Garden, Manjoi, Kg. Tai Le, Lim Garden and Buntong along the Sg.Pari River.

I have never seen Sg Pari ever so swollen as today. Sdr.Wasoo, Sdr. Mani, Sdr Tan were the few who followed to help.

We are given to understand the main source of water into Sg.Pari starts from Punjak Jelapang.
Here a few tributaries all coverage into this Punjak Jelapang and then into Sg.Pari which goes through Ipoh.

This morning’s rain was unusually heavy with fall of 115mm. Usually maximum rainfall will be in the region of 80mm. There was an increase rain fall of 45% this morning. The weather man says the heavy rain now in February is unusual.

Two schools, Seri Puteri and Sg.Pari Schools were also affected to the extent that the schools were closed today. The school chairs, tables and furniture were affected by the floods and it will take a few days for all to return to normality.

To make matters worse, the automatic water pumps installed to suck water into the river at Lim Gardens, Merdaka garden; Manjoi, Kelabang and Buntong were not functioning effectively. Apparently, the relevant department had been informed earlier that the pumps were not functioning but it fell on deaf ears.

The relevant authorities need to take heed and learn from this lesson. For some time the Sg.Pari river has been facing severe silting and deepening works needs to be urgently carried out.

This flood is avoidable if appropriate actions have been taken early to both deepen the rivers and ensure all water pumps are in working order.

A few hundred houses have been affected by this flash flood. Many personal belongings and furniture have been damaged.

The DAP has set up a crisis center at Hock Aun to assist those affected by the flash flood. Food and shelter is provided to the victims.

We advice those affected by the floods who want financial help from the Government to lodge police report and to forward the reports to us so as to allow us to assist them in their applications.

Media statement by M.Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat at Kg. Hock Aun Ipoh on 21stFebruary2011.

The flash flood causes stagnation of water at Kg.Hock Aun, Ipoh causes paind and misery to residents

The flash flood in and around Ipoh is improving. Only at Manjoi over 30 families affected will move into their houses in the afternoon.

But the fate of Kg. Hock Aun residents has and is not improving. Over 20 residents slept last night at a relief center next to Hock Aun Garden which is on high ground and flood free.

But Kg. Hock Aun residents live on low ground and being next to Sg.Pari river the flood water is there and its level is around 1feet. Thus many of the residents are unable to clean there houses and move in.
All the residents at this area are from the lower income group who need help.

We asked for assistance to pump and drain the stagnant flood water from the following departments:

1) Ipoh local council (MBI) who said they do not have pumps to drain water out. But they agree to provide high pressure pumps to clean the residents houses of mud and rubbish as soon as the water has receded. Yesterday I myself saw a water snake and a monitor lizard in one of the houses.

2) Fire brigade when contacted they confirmed having such pumps but its only meant to be used for emergency relief and not stagnated water situation. Told them its an emergency as the cause is by reason of flood water and not self caused thus its an emergency. They disagreed and adamant and won't help.

3) Finally we called for help with the Drainage and Irrigation Department(DID). They agreed to assist the residents and they will send over high powered water pumps to drain out the stagnated water into the Sg. Pari river.

Today 5 residents fall ill and the Health Department arrived and provided the necessary medical assistance.

We would like to place on record our appreciation to the staff of Welfare Department, Health Department, the MBI and the DID who were very speedy response and helpful to the residents in one way or the other.

Some of the main causes of the flash flood were 1) heavy rain fall 2) heavy silting thus over the time and the failure to deepen the Sg.Pari river 3) over logging and cutting of trees and vegetation at the up stream, which causes strong flow of rain water direct into the river.

The authorities should be lucky that no lives were lost by this avoidable floods. Immediate corrective actions are needed to address the pressing issues.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dr M ‘assaulted’ judicial independence, says Bar Council

Dr M ‘assaulted’ judicial independence, says Bar Council

February 19, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 — The Bar Council has accused Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad of stripping the judiciary of its independence, saying the former prime minister “assaulted” the institution with “Machiavellian ruthlessness” during his tenure.

Council president Lim Chee Wee said the 1988 amendment to Article 121 of the Federal Constitution had effectively tampered with the judiciary’s independence, forcing the courts to be subservient to the executive arm of government.

“The Malaysian Bar has consistently held the view that Dr Mahathir Mohamed had with Machiavellian ruthlessness assaulted the once great Malaysian judicial institution.

“First with this amendment, then the sacking and suspension of the Lord President and Supreme Court Judges and later the appointment of three different Chief Justices, whose reputation the Bar holds in low regard,” he told The Malaysian Insider in an emailed statement.

Lim: Amendment to law caused courts to be subservient to the executive arm of government. — File pic
Lim was responding to Dr Mahathir’s claim in a blog posting on Friday that the constitutional amendment had not altered judicial powers but merely gave the Attorney-General the responsibility to choose which court should hear a case.

“The rights and functions of the judiciary have not been subservient to the politicians or the prime minister before or after the amendment.

“This is because the amendment involves only the procedure in which the A-G was given back the responsibility to transfer cases. It did not give the prime minister any authority to overrule the courts,” he had written.

The country’s longest serving former prime minister was denying the claim by former Chief Justice Tun Mohd Dzaiddin Abdullah last Saturday that the judiciary had become subservient to politicians after the former clipped its wings in the 1980s with the amendment.

Dzaiddin had said the change was repugnant because Parliament could now decide what powers the judiciary should be given, altering in a very fundamental way the basic structure of the Federal Constitution.

Agreeing with Dzaiddin, Lim said the June 10, 1988, amendment had removed the words “the judicial power of the Federation shall be vested in two High Courts” from Article 121, effectively deleting the provision that judicial power of the federation is vested in the judiciary.

Instead, he said, it was stipulated that “the High Courts and inferior courts shall have such jurisdiction and powers as may be conferred by or under federal law”.

Lim recalled that when the Bill was being moved through Parliament, then Dr Mahathir had stated that its intent was to clarify the separation of powers, namely that the judiciary was to be prevented from interfering with the acts and functions of the executive.

“He (Dr Mahathir) had also stated that the amendment was to remove the powers of the judiciary in respect of judicial review, to make and develop Malaysian common law, and to do natural justice.

“This clearly is a misconception of the doctrine of separation of powers,” Lim said.

Following the amendment, he said, it was later misconceived that the courts had become powerless to address issues wherever there was a lacuna (when the law is silent).

They were wrongly thought to be confined to interpreting and implementing acts of Parliament, no longer able to develop common law and deprived of their inherent right to exercise judicial review over decisions of public bodies and executive functions, he added.

Noting that the judiciary was finally on its journey towards restoring independence and credibility, Lim urged the apex court to strike down the 1988 amendment as unconstitutional and contrary to the structure of the Federal Constitution.

He commended Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz for acknowledging the “shameful era” of the Malaysian judiciary and called on the latter to support another constitutional amendment, this time towards restoring judicial power.

“And the Bar urges all parliamentarians to support the Honourable Minister in this endeavour,” said Lim.