Monday, April 28, 2014

Can MCA Woo Back The Chinese In Bukit Gelugor?

Barisan Nasional (BN), especially MCA, once again has to shoulder a heavy responsibility in wooing the Chinese to its side in the Bukit Gelugor by-election on May 25.

Based on Penang BN's electoral seat distribution, the Bukit Gelugor parliamentary constituency is allocated to MCA, and this means it is going to be the second by-election involving MCA after the Kajang state seat by-election in Selangor on March 23.

During the Kajang by-election, MCA under the leadership of Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai went on overdrive in convincing the 15,823 Chinese voters, 40 percent of the electorate, to switch to BN.

Though, it was an attempt in futility, there was a silver lining for MCA as the votes for the party increased by seven percent to 25 percent compared with only 18 percent during the 13th General Election.

Nonetheless, as the by-election this time around involves a parliamentary constituency, the second biggest component party within BN has to shoulder a bigger responsibility, especially for the fact that there are three times more Chinese voters in Bukit Gelugor than in Kajang.

The Bukit Gelugor parliamentary constituency has 61,112 Chinese voters, representing 74.49 percent of the total electorate. The seat fell vacant following the demise of its incumbent Karpal Singh, 74, following a road accident, on April 17.

Karpal Singh, the former DAP chairman, recorded a 42,706 majority, the third highest majority after DAP's Teresa Kok of Seputeh who garnered a 51,552 majority followed by DAP's Sim Chee Keong of Bukit Mertajam who garnered a 43,063 majority.


On paper, based on the GE13 record, its certainly an uphill task for BN-MCA in winning over the Chinese voters in Bukit Gelugor.

However, reducing the opponent's majority like in Kajang will provide the party with some confidence in making further inroads ahead.

Then one may ask as the Bukit Gelugor parliamentary constituency is a DAP stronghold, could MCA 'steal' some of the Chinese votes from the opposition?

The head of the Politics, Security and International Relations Cluster of the National Professor Council (MPN) Prof Datuk Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak says BN, whether through MCA or Gerakan, faces a tough road as the Bukit Gelugor parliament seat is synonymous with DAP bigwigs.

"Moreover, the state government is led by DAP and voters have deep sympathy for Karpal Singh and the seat is a fortress of DAP, " he said.

Penang MCA Liaison Deputy Chief, Tan Teik Cheng notes that the party must have good confidence in pushing its efforts to woo the voters.

"If we are to contest, it is a tough road ahead. However, with confidence we may be able to reduce the opponent's majority," he adds.


MCA is in the midst of transformation and thus is not in a formidable position as yet for a show of strength and instead has to make use of the by-election platform to prove its determination in serving the people.

"Having said that, I believe BN should not give an easy win to DAP and instead should take on the opponent as an 'underdog'. It is the right time for MCA to gauge its strength," he says.

Mohamed Mustafa, says no matter what, the Bukit Gelugor by-election is a different ball game altogether compared with Kajang.

"In Kajang, the elected representative resigned, thus it is totally different from Bukit Gelugor, which involved the demise of its elected representative. Moreover, as for MCA, unlike Gerakan, Penang is not its stronghold. Thus its not the place to test its strength, " he said.


After taking a heavy beating in GE13, MCA now faces a poor perception crisis within the Chinese community who remain doubtful on the new leadership and whether the party has overcome all its internal woes.

Mohamed Mustafa opines that the Chinese community in the Bukit Gelugor constituency may have second thoughts of voting for MCA especially looking at the fact that the state politics favour DAP.

"In the electoral history of Bukit Gelugor, MCA has always been the underdog. Voters will go for DAP due to the sympathy vote factor and in appreciating the deeds of Karpal Singh," he added.

As for Tan, no matter what, MCA is ready to grab the bull by its horns.

Guan Eng: DAP never agreed to PAS' hudud move

The DAP has never agreed to PAS’ move to implement hudud on Muslims in Kelantan, before or after Pakatan Rakyat was established in 2008, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said.

Thus, he said DAP was surprised by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s claim that the Pakatan leadership council had agreed to PAS’ intention to have hudud.

“This is the first time that I have heard that DAP has agreed to PAS’ implementation of hudud law on Muslims in Kelantan.

“DAP’s top leadership, whether Lim Kit Siang or the late Karpal Singh, would never have agreed to it because it is unconstitutional,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said Abdul Hadi, if he had been correctly quoted on this matter, should show proof to back his claim because DAP had never agreed to the implementation of hudud in Kelantan “before or after Pakatan was established in 2008.”

“Abdul Hadi has made an unfortunate mistake and a wrong statement,” he said.

DAP national legal bureau chairman Gobind Singh Deo said Abdul Hadi should not attempt to twist the truth in claiming that the Pakatan leadership had agreed to the matter.

If such reports quoting Abdul Hadi were inaccurate, he said the PAS leader should then correct them.
“If it is true, then perhaps PAS should seriously reconsider the relevance of its continued existence in Pakatan Rakyat.”

The DAP, Gobind said, had always made it clear that it was totally against hudud as it was unconstitutional and unsuitable in a multiracial country.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

PAS Bid To Implement Hudud Can Cause Religious Conflicts - Ku Li

Gua Musang Member of Parliament Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah fears that a renewed bid by PAS to implement the hudud law in Kelantan can cause religious conflicts among the people of different races in the country.

He noted that since PAS raised the issue again, there had been protests from non-Muslims.

Nevertheless, PAS had expressly dismissed all views of its coalition partners in the Pakatan Rakyat, he said.

Tengku Razaleigh said it was a complex situation and needed to be referred to the country's constitution which underlines the strengths of the various races in the country.

"For us Malays and Umno, understanding the hudud law is not a problem," he said at the Local Young Professionals Gathering here Saturday.

Tengku Razaleigh, who is also Gua Musang Umno division chief, said Article 8 of the Constitution was a clear reference to the people of different races in the country, which should be adhered to so as not to create disunity that could affect national security.

The PAS-led Kelantan Government was earlier reported as planning to table a private Bill on Hudud law at the Dewan Rakyat to enforce the Syariah Criminal Code (II) Enactment 1993, no later than December.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dr Mahathir: Obama does not even want to meet me, not only Anwar

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said it was up to United States president Barack Obama if he wants to meet Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

"It is his (Obama) right, up to him who he wants to see, he does not even want to see me, a former prime minister," Dr Mahathir told reporters.

He was commenting on PKR's regret that Obama, on a three-day official visit to Malaysia from Saturday, would not be meeting Anwar.

Dr Mahathir said the government did not have the power to prevent Obama from meeting anyone, including Anwar.

"If they are dissatisfied, they can go and ask Obama himself, whether we (the government) are barring Anwar from meeting him," he said.

The visit of the US president will be Obama's first official visit to Malaysia after President Lyndon Johnson's visit in 1966.

Other than Malaysia, Obama will also visit Japan and South Korea before ending his visit to Asia, in the Philippines.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Government never rejected hudud, says Najib

The Federal Government has never rejected the implementation of hudud. However, there are loopholes and shortcoming that need to be addressed before the law can be implemented in Malaysia, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“There is a vast difference between rejecting the law and not implementing it because of the law’s shortages and difficulties,” said Najib in his speech during the closing of Program Itjimak Pondok Malaysia 2014 at Dewan Seri Mentaloon, Thursday.

He added that the law must be thoroughly studied and that both Muslim and non-Muslim communities must be ready for its implementation.

“We have to ensure that the Muslim community is mentally ready and fully understands the law before it is implemented,” he said.

He added that it is also important for non-Muslims to understand the law so there will be no confusion.

Food Sellers, Restaurant Owners Lament Operations Badly Affected By Water Woes

The water woes occurring in Selangor over the past two months have taken their toll on food stalls and restaurant operators, not only in the state, but also in the city.

Muslim Restaurant Operators Association (PRESMA) President Noorul Hassan Saul Hameed said over 600 members of the association had lodged complaints that their businesses were badly affected by the water crisis.

"Now, we have to spend between RM300 and RM500 a day just to purchase clean water, as well as disposable plates and cups," he told Bernama when contacted here Thursday.

The water rationing plan in Selangor was implemented last month when the water treatment plants in Cheras Batu 11 and Bukit Tampoi were forced to stop operation after the ammonia content in the raw water rose to dangerous level.

Yesterday, Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim announced that the state government would announce further decision on the water rationing plan next week.

Noorul Hassan said as restaurant operators, they were badly burdened by the water woes and now they felt like no one cared about the problems were facing.

"Although the water rationing plan is being implemented, problems still exist because in some restaurants, toilets had to be closed up to two days during dry taps.

"When the water supply is restored, the water is usually murky and yellowish in colour. How can we use this water? The quality of our food will be badly affected," he said.

Noorul Hassan said PRESMA had issued a memo to all its members to use disposable plates and cups to minimise the use of water.

He said the crisis also proved that the state government failed to manage the state's water industry, which also affected the state's economic growth and foreign investment.

Meanwhile, Federal Territories Malay Hawkers and Petty Traders Association chairman Ahmad Selamat said the water crisis had also affected over 5,000 hawkers and petty trader in the city.

"The water woes have clearly cut at least a quarter of the monthly income of hawkers and petty traders in the city, especially in Wangsa Maju, Cheras, Bandar Tun Razak and Batu here.

"I really hope that this water crisis will end soon because these hawkers and petty traders are depending solely on the income from their businesses. Don't let the water crisis forces them to close shop," he said.

Ahmad said instead of pointing fingers and making excuses, the state government should come out with a long-term plan on how to solve the crisis and prevent recurrence.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

BN: To Contest Or Not In Bukit Gelugor

Will Barisan Nasional (BN) contest in the Bukit Gelugor by-election after the parliamentary seat fell vacant following the death of its incumbent Karpal Singh?

BN has indirectly hinted that the party would likely contest the seat when its secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said that it was up to BN's component MCA to decide as the coalition will honour the existing agreement on the seats.

However, some think tank and politicians believe BN should reconsider contesting the seat where 74 percent of the voters are Chinese with the odds very much against BN.

"The odds are very much against them especially with sympathy votes expected from Penangites which means anybody contesting under DAP's banner will definitely win. This is what we call sympathy surplus.

"This sympathy surplus will be much stronger if the next of kin of the late DAP national chairman is being fielded such as his son Ramkarpal," said Gerakan linked think tank Socio-Economic Development and Research Institute (SEDAR) Executive Director Ivanpal S. Grewal.

It would not be a bad idea for BN not to contest the seat and allow Ramkarpal or whoever from DAP to win like what happened when second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein passed away in 1976.


Following the sudden demise of Razak in 1976 that left the Pekan seat vacant, the BN decided to field Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The national outpouring of grief following Razak's death and the respect for his father s tremendous contributions to Malaysia's development saw Najib elected unopposed as Member of Parliament at the very young age of 23.

"BN should look at this precedence. Giving the tragic circumstances of Karpal Singh's death, maybe BN should not field a candidate at all with national interest in mind, unlike the forced and ill conceived Kajang state by-election engineered by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)," he remarked.

Karpal Singh, 74, died in an accident at the North-South Expressway near Gua Tempurung, in Kampar, Perak last Thursday. His personal assistant, Michael Cornelius, was also killed.

Similarly, some political analysts believe it is better for BN to concentrate on other issues and work to strengthen Penang BN itself in preparation for the next general election.

"If you look at the past three general elections results for the seat, it clearly indicated the majority had increased tremendously, more than 100 percent. In 2004, DAP won with a 1,261 majority, in 2008 with a 21,015 majority and in 2013 with a 42,706 majority," said political analyst and senior lecturer at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Dr Sivamurugan Pandian.

He said though the by-election could serve as an avenue to gauge the support for BN, the Bukit Gelugor by-election would not provide any much changes and more time is needed to prepare BN to face bigger battle in Penang during the 14th General Election.

Based on the 2013 electoral roll, there were 82,042 voters with 61,112 being Chinese, 11,880 Malays, 8,660 Indians and 390 others.

All the three state seats under Bukit Gelugor - Seri Delima, Paya Terubong and Air Itam - were also won by the candidates from DAP.

Most of the voters in the constituencies come from professional and middle class, particularly from Minden Heights and USM.


However, some still believe that the BN should contest regardless of the uphill battle that the party has to face.

"There is no doubt DAP will win the by-election. However, BN still has to contest because as a political party you cannot just give a walkover," said Penang based political analyst Datuk Cheah See Kian.

"If you give a walkover to DAP, the people will laugh at you. As a political party, MCA can field one of their young candidates and put the party's strategy to work. Win or lose is secondary," he added.

"No doubt that Karpal Singh won by 42,706 majority in 2013 and 21,015 in 2008. However, given much flux in the Malaysian politics, popularity is not a static concept," said MCA Central Committee member Datuk Ti Lian Ker.

In fact, he pointed Karpal Singh s history as a case in point, when in 2004, the DAP leader won Bukit Gelugor by a much smaller margin of 1,261 votes.

However, in 1999, he lost the Jelutong seat, which he had held for five consecutive terms by just 775 votes.

"In 2008 and 2013 general elections, BN-MCA still got the average of 14,000 over votes despite the bigger majority (obtained by the DAP)," Ti said, adding that contesting in the by-election is not just about winning but more on giving chance to the party second liners to contest.

Sodomy II: No extension on appeal petition deadline following Karpal's death, formal application required

A formal application is needed to extend the Thursday deadline for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to file his petition of appeal at the Federal Court over his sodomy case, following the death of lead counsel Karpal Singh.

Co-counsel Zaleha al-Hayat said she had sent a letter to the Federal Court registry on Tuesday afternoon asking for two weeks' extension to file the petition due to Karpal's death in a road accident last Thursday, but a court registrar asked her to file a formal application instead."It is risky to file a notice of motion (formal application) now asking for an extension of time as the deadline to file the petition of appeal is today (Thursday)," she said.

She said that they have to explain the grounds for the request of the extension, which would include Karpal's death and the fact that his co-counsel and son, Ramkarpal Singh Deo, was still mourning for him.

"If it (application) is fixed to be heard next week, time will be lapse for the filing of the petition. If the court dismisses our application, we will have nothing," she said.

Zaleha said that Ramkarpal was speeding up the process to file the petition.
"The lead counsel will be Sulaiman Abdullah," Zaleha confirmed.

Anwar is now appealing against his conviction for sodomy and five-year jail term imposed by the Court of Appeal on March 7.

Anwar was charged with sodomising Saiful, then 23, at a Desa Damansara condominium unit in Bukit Damansara between 3.10 pm and 4.30 pm on June 26, 2008.

GST: Is it Good or Bad?

Much has been said about GST or Goods and Services Tax, known also as VAT (Value Added Tax) which is to be implemented by 15 April 2015.  Some view GST as unnecessary and an additional burden to the people but some chose to take it indifferently.  Many, though, don’t really understand what it is.

The truth is, there are always two sides of the story, whereby the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depends on which angle you are looking at.

From a businessman point of view, GST is most welcomed as it eases the administrative procedures by allowing businesses to claim their Input tax credit by way of automatic deduction in their accounting system.

Any type of businesses ranging from sole proprietary, company, unions, club, partnership, individuals with more than RM 500,000 taxable sales are required to register for GST.

GST is imposed at each level of the supply chain but the tax element does not become part of the cost of the product because GST paid on the business inputs is claimable. Hence, it does not matter how many stages where a particular good and service goes through the supply chain because the input tax incurred at the previous stage is always deducted by the businesses at the next step in the supply chain.
Input tax is the GST charged on the purchase of goods and services used in the business activity. Output tax on the other hand, is GST charged and collected on sales/supplies of goods and services. Input tax credit means tax input claimable by businesses registered under GST.

In a much simpler words, GST is a good thing for businesses.

Whatever is good for business is usually good for the country and even though the ordinary Malaysians, the consumers, the non-business community may be skeptical over GST but in the end, whatever is good for the country, will bring goodness to everybody.

It is a fact that the final GST tax burden will ultimately will be borne by consumers but it only becomes a burden, if we were to look at its monetary form directly.

Taking a look from a wider point of view, we will be able to see that GST prevents double taxation as Streamlined sales tax (SST) could lead to double taxation that can prove to be a demerit to consumers.

Tax compliance is also expected to be increased by the implementation of GST and therefore, generate additional revenue at a projected amount of RM 1.0 billion compared to the existing sales tax and service tax.

The revenue generated from GST will eventually goes back to the benefits for the consumers, the ordinary people or the non-business community, through nation building programs, facilities and infrastructure development.

Apart from that, GST serves as a more effective, transparent and business friendly system that could spur economic growth as well as increase competitiveness in the global market.  Thus, provides more business and job opportunities for the people.

It is important to note that Malaysian Government is taking cautious steps in imposing GST so that consumers will not be burdened by higher costs.  As such, Malaysians won’t be paying GST for certain essential goods like unprocessed meat, cooking oil, sugar and essential services like public transportation electricity, education, healthcare, toll, financial transactions and life insurance.

All in all, GST is good for everybody as it will help increase revenue through tax compliance, increase the country’s competitiveness in the global market and provide more opportunities for Malaysians.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

No Trade Pact To Be Signed During Obama Visit, Says Mustapa

Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, has indicated that no trade agreement will be signed during US President Barack Obama's visit but a lot of issues will be discussed to strengthen bilateral relationship.

He said Obama's visit to Malaysia, the first by a US president since President Lyndon Johnson in 1966, would discuss various issues including economic, defence, education and entrepreneurship.

"It's an opportunity for us to share our issues and challenges of concern," he told reporters after officiating the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce's (AMCHAM) new office here today.

Also present were US Ambassador to Malaysia, Joseph Y. Yun and AMCHAM President Sanjeev Nanavati.

Yun said Obama visit showcased the strength of the bilateral relationship of Malaysia and the US.

He said the visit would enhance mutual cooperation in various fields, such as educational exchanges, diplomacy, regional collaboration and partnership in trade and investment.

Meanwhile, Sanjeev said, the visit was significant in many ways as the ties between both countries were improving amid the efforts from the current administration of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

"The foundation of the relationship is the investment and trade ties. The visit will help strengthen it and give a further impetus to the foundation," he said.

Obama's visit on April 26 to April 28 was part of the US leader's tour to Asia which includes Japan, South Korea and the Philippine.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Who Will Be PKR's New Deputy President?

While the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) number one position is seeing an unprecedented husband-wife contest, the party's number two post too is being closely watched.

All eyes are on who will be the party's number two, who will work with the president in achieving the party's mission and vision.

Looking at the candidate list for the deputy president's post where a number of heavyweights have also joined in the fray, it appears that it will be an uphill battle for incumbent Mohamed Azmin Ali to maintain his position for another term.

Mohamed Azmin, the three term vice president since 2001, won the deputy president post in 2010 after defeating Perak PKR Chairman Mustaffa Kamil Ayub.


Other than Mohamed Azmin, the other three contenders who have offered themselves for the post are party Secretary General Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and Hulu Selangor division member Datuk K. Ramachandran.

In fact it would have been a more crowded field if another contender party vice president Tian Chua and former Puchong division chief S. Murali had not withdrawn from the race. Chua and Murali announced on Thursday, the last day for candidates to withdraw, that they are withdrawing from the race.

At the crosshairs of politial pundits and observers are Abdul Khalid and Saifuddin who are seen as the formidable opponents for Mohamed Azmin.

Local political blogs seem to be more preoccupied with the clash between Mohamed Azmin and Abdul Khalid, seen as a clash between political clout and credibility.

Even before the race started talks were rife that both leaders cannot see eye to eye, and this was agreed by PKR's Director for Strategy Rafizi Ramli.

"The clash between Mohamed Azmin and Abdul Khalid is an open secret...and this is something unhealthy. It does not help the people," said Rafizi in a press conference on Tuesday.


Looking at the line up, one will then ask who is the most influential of them all?

A senior lecturer in political science from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Dungun, Terengganu Che Hamdan Che Mohd Razali views Mohamed Azmin as the one being most influential compared with the other three.

Nonetheless, he said, Abdul Khalid's challenge cannot be taken lightly due to his stronghold in Selangor, and being the man largely credited for the success of the PKR-DAP-PAS pact in the state in the 13th General Election.

"Azmin is seen influenial within PKR's circles, but Khalid has made a name for himself in Selangor due to his able leadership. The others are minnows who will just split the votes," he said to Bernama.

Early this month Saifuddin teamed up with PKR's Vice President Nurul Izzah Anwar and Rafizi, but is reported to face a tough road in the race for the number two position.

Saifuddin believes his contributions to the party, even while he was the Machang member of Parliament, will be serve as his report card to be evaluated by party members.

Abdul Khalid was reported saying on Wednesday that the trio posed no serious challenge to him and he remained unperturbed.

While Mohamed Azmin, who is also the Gombak Member of Parliament had left it to the PKR members to decide on his position.

Mohamed Azmin and Saifuddin joined PKR in 1999 while Abdul Khalid came in 2007.


Looking at the fact that two deputy president contenders were party strongmen, the question remains whether Mohamed Azmin could defend his position?

A lecturer with Universiti Sains Malaysia's Social Science Department Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussain predicts the state assemblyman for Bukit Antarabangsa will not be able to defend his seat.

This is due to his poor performance and the problems that he created within PKR ranks, he says, adding that the fact that he has fallen out of favour with party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail further reduced Azmin's chances.

"It is a known fact that, Wan Azizah favours Khalid and this means he has better chances of winning.

"I also see that the party's defacto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is set to throw his support to Saifuddin, making it more difficult for Azmin in maintaining the status quo," he said.

Nonetheless, all contenders have their own strengths and strategies and thus it will be interesting to wait and see the outcome of the party's new line-up on May 13.

Job Well Done In MH192 Emergency Landing - Najib

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has commended the good work of the pilot and co-pilot of a trouble-hit Malaysia Airlines (MAS) plane and those on the ground in ensuring a Bangalore-bound flight landed safely back at the KL International Airport (KLIA) this morning.

The prime minister said he was glad that Flight MH192 returned safely to the airport in Sepang.

"Good work to all involved. Well done to Captain Nor Adam Azmi and his co-pilot Prakash Kumar for successfully landing the plane in an emergency situation," he said on his Facebook account Monday.

Najib noted that the quick action of the Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control in notifying the Malaysia Airlines Operations Control Centre that tyre debris had been found on the runway was commendable.

Flight MH192 left KLIA at 10.09 pm Sunday but detected a right landing gear malfunction, turned back and made an emergency landing at KLIA at 1.56 am Monday.

"All 159 passengers and seven crew members on board are safe," said the prime minister whose Facebook has some 2.3 million "Likes".

The passengers praised the pilot for having dealt with the situation in a professional manner.

Is There A Need To Privatise PLUS?

Many politicians and analysts are in agreement that recent calls for the nationalisation of Malaysia's longest highway that stretches from the Thai border to Singapore are illogical as the North-South Expressway (NSE) was nationalised four years ago.

This happened when PLUS was delisted from Bursa Malaysia and fully taken over by the government via two agencies - the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Khazanah-owned UEM Group Bhd.

While efforts are now underway to prise PLUS away from government ownership, politicians and economists are in agreement that it should stay in government hands, given that this is a critical national infrastructure spanning the length of Peninsular Malaysia.

The recent unsolicited offer from Idaman Saga Sdn Bhd, which was rumoured to have roped in another government-linked entity, to take over the ownership of the nation's most lucrative highway concession has once again seen calls for nationalisation from both sides of the political divide.

What seems to be forgotten is that the 772km NSE that forms the backbone of the country's road network, together with all the highways under the purview of PLUS Malaysia Bhd, had already been nationalised since 2010 following calls from the people.

The unsolicited offer, which lacks an offer price from Idaman Saga, a private vehicle of Tan Sri Halim Saad, among other things, includes a sweetener: it will not increase toll charges until the end of the concession period in 2038. This will also save the government some RM64 billion in compensation as a result no toll increases between 2016 and 2038.

Such an offer has certainly struck a chord with the motoring public.

Despite the lack of financial details i.e. the offer price and funding of the purchase, analysts felt that the offer lacked viability for it to be considered a serious bid.

The current owners - UEM Group Bhd and the EPF - certainly have no plans to part with their prized asset.

Analysts say that PLUS Malaysia Bhd is an attractive takeover target with its huge cash generating business and steady growth potential.

"PLUS is already a national asset as it is owned by government-linked companies, 51 per cent by UEM Group and 49 per cent by EPF. It is pointless to risk privatisation. In terms of being competitive, UEM has managed PLUS well.

PLUS gives a good return to EPF contributors, so it's not necessary to privatise it," said David Ang Chin Tat, the Selangor Chairman of Gerakan.

"The government tries to look after the best interests of the people so that big assets are sometimes nationalised to protect the public. The public, also means the people who work for PLUS, not only the highway users.

"EPF represents 14 million Malaysians (who are contributors). Why should EPF pull out from the joint venture? I don't see it as being necessary," Ang said.

Zakie Shariff, a Director of FA Securities, said for a highway that has reached maturity like PLUS, it made more sense to let the status quo remain because it was once privatised before being nationalised via EPF and UEM.

"To have a third party now to buy back from EPF and UEM, I don't see the rationale. If anyone really wants to reduce the financial burden of the rakyat, look at the intracity ones, don't just look at PLUS.

"With the high cost of living right now, the offer of no toll hikes and huge saving is tempting to the public and the government," he said.

Stressing that one needs to think long-term on this matter, he said, "EPF plus UEM are two government agencies and this partnership, which saw the nationalisation of PLUS in 2010, has thus far managed PLUS well."

"Why should this arrangement that is currently benefiting the rakyat be changed?" asked an economics professor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, on the Idaman Saga offer.

"No doubt, the public is not happy with the expected toll hike among all the highway concessions and not just PLUS," she said.

"For PLUS, even though it is owned by government agencies, it manages public amenities and operates like a business entity," she stressed.

But many analysts are also of the opinion that given the maturity of the toll concessions and the profits that had been enjoyed by the profitable toll concessionaires, there is a pressing need for the government to revisit the agreements to reduce the frequency of toll hikes and the quantum of price increases

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Will PAS' Hudud Bill See The Light Of The Day?

While PAS' leadership remain adamant in tabling a private member bill to implement Hudud in Kelantan, political analysts believe the move is in futility and no more than a political play.

PAS' has harboured dreams of implementing Hudud in Kelantan since 1990s and its dreams were rekindled when neighbouring Brunei decided to implement the Syariah system and concurrently the Hudud.

Brunei's Syariah law and Hudud will come into force on April 22, which introduces specific method of execution for rape, adultery, sodomy and extra-marital sexual relations.

Political analyst Dr James Chin, a senior fellow at the Institute of South East Asia Studies based in Singapore, says PAS is under pressure especially from its younger supporters who argue if Brunei can do it, it can be done in Malaysia too.


However, back in Malaysia the federal constitution that is secular in nature has been the stumbling block thus PAS has to get the Parliament's approval to amend the constitution before it could implement Hudud in Kelantan.

PAS knows well that the bill's passage is filled with hurdles but still wants to go ahead as the Hudud could serve as the trump card in helping the party regain some relevance as it has been overshadowed by its partners PKR and DAP in the Pakatan Rakyat setup.

In the 13th General Election (GE13), PAS downplayed the race and religious card to appease its Pakatan partners especially DAP that was dead against Hudud and it resulted in the party's dismal performance.

Nonetheless, some politicians believe the move could be a clever political strategy as well as to embarrass UMNO as it will put the backbone party of Barisan Nasional (BN) on a difficult position.

"If UMNO votes against the bill, it is a checkmate by PAS on UMNO on the Hudud," explained Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEA) chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

"There are two things here. One is that some in PAS believe Hudud is a religious obligation, while others believe this could be a good political move," he adds.

However, Dr James Chin points out during the days of the PAS Spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the Hudud card against UMNO had been prohibited.


"Apart from the effort to embarrass UMNO, I also believe it is also a retribution against PKR over RM2 million lawsuit against PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang," says MCA veteran politician Datuk Yap Pian Hon.

Yap is referring to the former Bukit Besi PKR candidate and PKR Dungun Youth Chief Mohd Shamsul Mat Amin's refusal to withdraw his RM2 million defamation suit against Abdul Hadi who is also the Member of Parliament for Marang.

On Feb 23, the Kuala Terengganu High Court ordered Abdul Hadi to pay RM2 million in damages to Mohd Shamsul for the defamation suit he filed on Dec 5 last year.

Mohd Shamsul sued Hadi over the latter's statement that even drug dealers were among PKR's candidates for GE13, which became an excuse for PAS to nominate its own candidate in the seat allocated to PKR resulting in a three-cornered fight in Bukit Besi.


In order for the Hudud to be implemented in Kelantan, PAS needs two-thirds support of the Dewan Rakyat that is from at least 148 of the 222 Parliamentarians.

However, it only takes 75 parliamentarians to vote against the bill to dash PAS' hopes of enforcing Hudud in Kelantan.

"Even if all the Muslim MPs vote for the bill, still PAS won't have the two-thirds support to get it through. PAS knows this well and that's why I say it is purely a political move," says Chin.

Some PAS leaders concur with Chin that even if the bill is passed, Hudud still cannot be implemented without a comprehensive Syariah system in place.


Nonetheless, PAS' attempt to table a private member bill is something rare in the Malaysian legislature.

A private member's bill is a proposed law introduced into a legislature by a legislator who is not acting on behalf of the executive branch.

Despite the euphoria over the bill in PAS' camp, Chin remains doubtful that the party will proceed with the tabling of the bill in Dewan Rakyat.

"Even if it is allowed to be tabled, there will be another fresh hurdle to go through. Even if get passed (two-thirds), there is still a huge challenge to get it implemented due to various technical reasons," he adds.

Prior to this, Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob had said that the private member's bill on Hudud would be tabled in Parliament to obtain approval for the enforcement of the Syariah Criminal Code (II) Enactment.

Ahmad said PAS would choose a suitable parliament session to table the bill as provided by Article 76(A) of the Federal Constitution.

Meanwhile, DAP publicity chief Tony Pua and PKR vice-president N. Surendran have pointed out that the Hudud law was never agreed upon by the opposition coalition and any attempt to table such bill would face stiff objection.

MH370 search: MAS to provide financial assistance to families

The families of the passengers and crew of flight MH370 will receive financial assistance from Malaysia Airlines to ease their burdens, said Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin
Hamzah, who heads the sub-committee focusing on the next-of-kin, said that the process to identify those who would receive the assistance started two weeks ago.

The assistance would come solely from MAS, with the Government only stepping in to bear some of the costs if there is a need for it.

During a briefing with the families at the Royale Chulan Hotel on Sunday, Hamzah said the families have been requested to submit their own amounts for financial assistance.

"Some of the families have lost their breadwinners and may be facing financial difficulties.
"Those affected will all receive some form of financial assistance from MAS.

"However, when the assistance will be given will be determined at a later date as we have recipients from 15 different countries, " he told reporters.

He added that two Malaysian representatives were in talks with the families in China regarding financial assistance, with MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun expected to fly to Beijing to speak to the next-of-kin as well.

Selamat Omar, 60, the father of aviation engineer Mohd Khairul Amri Selamat, said he was grateful for the Government's offer.

Friday, April 11, 2014

MH370 search: Fifth underwater signal detected

Angus Houston, who heads the agency coordinating the search in the area, said the AP-3C Orion aircraft detected the possible signal in the vicinity of the Australian ship Ocean Shield.
The plane, which has been dropping sound-locating buoys into the water near where the original sounds were heard, picked up a “possible signal” that may be from a man-made source, said Houston.
The Ocean Shield detected two pings on Saturday. This was followed by another two signals on Tuesday, which have allowed the search area to be gradually reduced.
“The acoustic data detected by the Orion aircraft will require further analysis overnight but shows potential of being from a man-made source,” Houston said in a statement issued by the Joint Agency Coordination Cent­re (JACC) yesterday.
The Orion was among 14 aircraft and 13 ships which yesterday combed the seas 2,280km northwest of Perth, looking for signs of MH370 in a search area slightly bigger than the land mass of Pahang and Johor combined.
The underwater search for signals from MH370’s black boxes was conducted byOcean Shield at the northern end of the defined search area.
The Chinese ship Haixun 01 and British navy ship Echo searched for the underwater signals at the southern end of the search area.
The Perth-based JACC, set up to coordinate the search in the waters off Australia in the Indian Ocean, said aircraft and ships on Wednesday reported spotting many objects in the water, but only a small number were able to be recovered.
None of the recovered items was believed to be associated with MH370, said the JACC statement.
Search teams trying to get a fix on the missing aircraft are racing against time to locate further signals before the batteries of the black boxes, whose 30-day shelf-life expired on Tuesday, die out.
Associated Press quoted US Seventh fleet spokesman commander William Marks as saying that the search team was getting closer and closer to the aircraft’s location.
“When you put those two (sets of pings) together, it makes us very optimistic,” he said.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Despite all the effort and the international co-operation in the search for MH370, the where-about of the aircraft remains a mystery. All 26 countries involved in the mission can only keep guessing and searching. All clues had led the team nowhere. All the satellites, radars, vessels, submarines, aircrafts that are used in the SAR have so far failed to locate the aircraft or its wreckage.
This is not the failure of the Malaysian government, nor is it the Malaysian Airline’s. In fact, I don’t think it is wrong to say that this, is a failure of the most sophisticated technology, developed and owned mostly by the superpower, the United States of America.
Ever since the flight went missing, Malaysian has been made into somewhat ‘punching bag’ by the foreign media. The Oppositions too, was quick to grab the opportunity to deride the government. Consequently, they managed to shake Malaysia-China relation, which could have been their objective all along.
The reluctance and the delay by the Chinese government in clearing the air doubled the frustration. With majority of the passengers are Chinese nationals, the least their government could do is help Malaysia provide a firm and clear message to their people.
Yet, Malaysia did not resort to pointing fingers or whine. We took it all in, continue to explain as best possible and swear to continue searching. If this is not a proof of credibility and professionalism, then what is?
If only foreign media has the same professionalism, then they should have known that ‘credibility in handling the press’ is not the issue here. That is why we didn’t hear the same accusation of ‘concealing information’ or ‘weak’ being shout at French Government when Air France went down in 2009, did we? We didn’t hear anybody questioning the time taken to find the wreckage of AF447 that is, after two years – even with all the expertise and assets they have.
So, why has ‘Malaysian government’ become the subject of reporting, instead of the ‘search’? Why is ‘handling the press’ more important than ‘why, despite all the sophistication in the technology, we have found nothing’?
Being a small developing country, Malaysia is very humble to admit our lack of expertise, assets and technology to deal with such disaster. It could be true that we are a little lost in handling the situation but that’s because we have never come across such a case before. Therefore, we were quick to accept all help and assistance that any country could offer. Not one offer for help was denied.
Of all the countries, Malaysia has high hopes on the world’s superpower – the United States of America, especially. The flight, a Boeing, is made by the Americans and we assumed that if anybody could help us find it, it must be the Americans. Obviously, we are wrong.
Therefore, instead of looking into the pilots and passengers and Malaysian leaders for fault, perhaps, we should be looking at the Americans. It would make more sense for the foreign media to ask about whatever happened to the most powerful U.S satellites on that fateful 8th of May?
It is funny how the U.S managed to locate Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein in some hidden holes, but they cannot detect a Boeing 777 flying in the open sky, on the open sea! Can the U.S explain why did their satellites failed to get anything at all when the Chinese’s and Australian’s had at least gave us some hope?
If there is any ‘weak’ factor in the case of the missing MH370, the weakness lies hugely on the Americans: the Boeing Commercial Airplanes and the US government themselves.
It seems that this state of the art Boeing 777 may not be as perfect as it is portrayed. Last 6 July, 2013 Asiana Airlines Flight 214, a Boeing 777, had landed short of the runway on a clear, sunny day and killed three passengers. The record shows no obvious explaination on why an experienced pilot of 20 years did not recognize the deteriorating airspeed and abandon the approach sooner.
Asiana then pointed out that Boeing 777’s airliner’s automation and warning system as a probable fault. The company also strongly encouraged Boeing to change the 777′s autothrottle so it would wake up when the aircraft deviates significantly from the desired speed. The issue had been flagged by European aviation regulators and the lead FAA test pilot for the Boeing 787, which has essentially the same auto-throttle system.
What I’m trying to point out here is that it is not impossible that MH370 had had a terrible system failure that it just shut down all emergency signals altogether.

As experts learn from mistakes, Malaysia Airlines has never had the chance to learn, because the airlines has always been well known for its excellent safety records. It boasts of its best pilots and cabin crews. However, we could only wish for a perfect record throughout, but then some things are just beyond our control.
This is the first time Malaysia has to deal with such complex situation but it is not the first time for the U.S.
Remember, the U.S had failed to see a plane coming towards the World Trade Center. Lesson learned and the U.S upgraded an improved all of their assets to the extent of ‘paranoia’, to ensure such things don’t recur. The U.S insists on detecting the enemy before the enemy even thought of coming to the U.S. So, how come with all these technology, we still have not find MH370?
I guess, the foreign media should just cut the crap on bashing Malaysia just to save face of the U.S and start asking the real question like, ‘have all the money spent on US military technology worth it?’

Monday, April 7, 2014

MAHB: KLIA2 has everything AirAsia asked for, except for spa and museum

A file picture of KLIA2 in January this year.Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has complied with almost everything requested by AirAsia Bhd for it to operate from KLIA2 - except for a spa and a museum.

In an interview with Bernama, MAHB senior general manager (operations services) Datuk Azmi Murad, said the few things that could not be granted from AirAsia's wishlist was a spa and a museum.

He said that the low-cost carrier, which has expressed reservations about moving to KLIA2 citing concerns including security, is set to be the biggest gainer by operating from the new airport.

With flight operations at KLIA2 beginning on May 2, and the current low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) to close on May 9, there were no two ways about it but for AirAsia to move and operate from the new airport, he said.

Azmi said that all parties, including the Department of Immigration, the Royal Malaysian Customs, the police and the health authorities had agreed to move to KLIA2.
AirAsia, Asia's biggest low-cost carrier, is expected contribute about 80% of the new low-cost airport's traffic.

Rosmah advises individual who uploaded superimposed image of her to repent

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor has advised an individual who allegedly uploaded a picture on social media with her face superimposed on the “mangled body” of a purported passenger of a plane crash to repent.

“I was informed of the existence of the photo when I was overseas ... I replied not to bother with this child, don’t go down to his level.

“As a mother, I advise him to repent ... let us pray that he repents,” said the prime minister’s wife when commenting on the photograph.

She said this at a press conference here Sunday, held to announce the International Autism Seminar which will be held in Putrajaya on April 22 and 23.

The picture was shared by user Syed Saifullah. It carried a caption stating that the plane in which Rosmah boarded had crashed.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

MH370 search: Chinese report says pulse detected in search area

A Chinese ship searching for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 detected a "pulse signal" in the southern Indian Ocean Saturday, but there was no evidence yet that it was linked to the missing plane, according to a report by Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

The signal picked up by the vessel's black box detector had a frequency of 37.5kHz per second - identical to the beacon signal emitted by flight recorders.

The announcement came nearly a month after the Malaysian jetliner disappeared off radar screens en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, triggering an unprecedented international search.

Australian and British vessels are currently involved in a round-the-clock underwater search in the southern Indian Ocean, hoping to pick up a signal from the plane's black box recorder, but the battery powering those emissions is nearing the end of its roughly 30-day life span.

The Chinese search ship Haixun 01 picked up the pulse signal at about 25 degrees south latitude and 101 degrees east longitude, Xinhua said in a brief dispatch.

"Suspected pulse signal picked up by Haixun 01 has not been identified yet," the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center said on a verified microblog.

Australian Defence Minister David Johnston said he had not received a report on the signal and warned that it may not be from the plane.
"This is not the first time we have had something that has turned out to be very disappointing," he told ABC television.

"I'm just going to wait for (JACC chief) Angus (Houston) and the team and my team to come forward with something that's positive because this is a very, very difficult task."
The news agency also reported that a Chinese air force plane spotted a number of white floating objects in the search area Saturday.
The plane photographed the objects over a period of 20 minutes after spotting them at 11:05 local time.

An Australian pilot on board the plane reported the information to the Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC), which is coordinating the massive multinational search in the southern Indian Ocean.
The plane, taking off at 6:04am, was the first to leave Perth International Airport for the day's search schedule. It arrived at the designated area, about 2,700 kilometers from Perth, at 09:55am.

Search conditions were difficult with gales of 4-5 m/sec, waves of 1 to 2 meters and a cloud ceiling of about 200 meters.

The plane returned to the airport at 2.20pm.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


I would like to start by thanking the men and women who are giving their all to find MH370.

Over the past three weeks, hundreds of people have journeyed thousands of kilometres to help. They have searched through stormy seas and freezing fog. They have sailed through storms to find the plane. We owe them each a debt of gratitude.

This has been a remarkable effort, bringing together nations from around the world. When MH370 went missing, dozens of countries answered the call for help. Their commitment will not be forgotten.

In a time of great tragedy for the countries with citizens on board, and the families whose loved ones are missing this co-operation has given us all heart. Differences have been set aside, as 26 nations have united behind a common cause. The disappearance of MH370 is without precedent; so too is the search.

This morning I met with sailors and aircrew at Pearce Air Force Base. I also spoke to the commanders of the seven nations who are here to search for MH370. They told me of the difficulties of a search like this; of distance, and weather, and of maintaining morale over a long period.

As we speak, 10 aircraft and 9 ships are searching the Indian Ocean for any sign of the missing plane. The search area is vast, and the conditions are not easy. But the new refined search area has given us new hope. And I believe the courage of the crews is more than equal to the task. Once again, I thank them all for what they are doing.

I would also like to thank Prime Minister Abbott for hosting us here in Perth; for agreeing to lead the search operations in the southern Indian Ocean; and for accepting our invitation for Australia to participate as an Accredited Representative in the investigation. We will continue to work closely with the Australian government to draw up a comprehensive agreement on the search.

At this difficult time, Australia has proven an invaluable friend. The Australian authorities, like so many others, have offered their assistance without hesitation or delay. I would like to sincerely thank Australia for all they have done, and are doing, to find the plane.

We are also grateful to all those who have brought their expertise to bear on what Prime Minister Abbott rightly called one of the great mysteries of our time.

The disappearance of MH370 has tested our collective resolve. Faced with so little evidence, and such a Herculean task, investigators from Malaysia, the US, the UK, China, Australia and France have worked without pause to reveal the aircraft's movements. Their collective efforts have led us here.

We are here today, but our thoughts are thousands of kilometres away. In the cities and countries around the world, where families of those on board wait desperately for news. And in the vastness of the Indian Ocean, where MH370 awaits.

I know that until we find the plane, many families cannot start to grieve. I cannot imagine what they must be going through. But I can promise them that we will not give up.

Thank you.

Malaysia to reach high income nation status before 2020

The Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) launched in 2010 has a 10-year target to lift Malaysia’s gross national income (GNI) to US$523 billion (RM1.7 trillion) and increase per capita income to US$15,000 (RM49,000) to meet the World Bank’s threshold for high-income nation status.

However, it now looks likely that the country will achieve the much desired status two years earlier, by 2018, thanks to the efforts and commitment made by the Government to transform the economy.

Speaking at PEMANDU’s Global Malaysia Series, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Dato’ Sri Idris Jala said the positive results of government initiatives under the ETP have produced a chain of encouraging outcomes such as a 17% growth in private investments in the last four years.

He added that Malaysia has also moved up to number six in the list of countries with the most conducive environment to grow business, overtaking the United Kingdom.

He said for this year, the government is looking at increasing income per capita to US$7,059 (RM23 million) while aiming to trim the national deficit to 3.9% of the GDP.

Dato’ Sri Idris, who is also PEMANDU’s Chief Executive Officer, was among the panellist for the Global Malaysia Series 6: “Are we there yet?”, which looks at the country’s global competency. Other panellists were World Bank’s Senior Economist for Malaysia Dr Frederico Gil Sander, and the Chief Executive Officer for General Electric Malaysia Stuart Dean.
Dean said that efforts made by the Government to keep its promises on transformation make Malaysia an ideal investment destination for companies like General Electric.
On the issue of household debts, which is reportedly at 86% of the GDP, Dato’ Sri Idris felt that there was little to worry about. This, he said, is because the debts were backed by total household assets, which stand at 321.6% of GDP. “We are concerned but there is nothing to be alarmed about, due to the quality of the assets.”

Quality of human assets vital
In agreeing with Dato’ Sri Idris, Sander said that so long as the household income is growing, household debts may not be a bad thing.

However, he pointed out that to become a high income nation, the quality of a country’s human assets is more important than household assets. He said that the development of this asset in Malaysia is being hampered by the lack of quality in the education system.

Referring to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey where Malaysia was ranked 52nd overall out of 65 countries, Sander said the fact that rural students in Vietnam are performing better than Malaysian students is a cause for serious concern. It also indicates a serious weakness in the education system despite the sector receiving the largest amount funds from the Government.
“Malaysia has to begin now because it takes a generation to build human capital,” said Sander who also called for decentralisation of the education system to give schools more autonomy in making decisions based on their needs.

Malaysia acknowledges weaknesses in the education system, said Dato’ Sri Idris who referred to the National Education Blueprint 2013-2025 as part of an aggressive effort by the Government to identify issues and push for drastic improvement.

“Education is crucial for future talent development that will take our country beyond 2020,” he said, adding that among the issues being looked at is the quality of the teachers.

One of the steps taken to improve the quality of teachers is having all English teachers in the country undergo the Cambridge Placement test to evaluate their competency.

Nevertheless, there are exceptional institutions in the country such as the Penang Skills Development Centre, a tripartite effort between the Government, academia and the private sector, which has produced 180,000 highly employable graduates.

“This is what we call a pathfinder project; an innovative way to develop industry-relevant education and we are looking at expanding this concept,” said Dato’ Sri Idris.

He said to this date, government has been taking efforts to push GNI by exploring and making most of all the existing sectors. “Once this is achieved, we are looking at breaking new ground that will take us beyond 2020. The National Education Blueprint is the master plan to develop talents that will push the country beyond 2020,” he added.

Dato’ Sri Idris also urged local companies to look beyond our shores by developing new products and services that are capable of entering international markets beyond 2020.

The country’s strategy beyond 2020 is to strengthen its global position through innovative products and services. And if the government is successful in carrying out the ETP in its entirety, Malaysia will have little difficulty in forging ahead to chart new paths.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

We'll see on that day, says ministry of AirAsia's refusal to move to KLIA2 on May 9

"I cannot comment first. We will see on that day," is all Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi is saying in response to AirAsia and AirAsia X's decision to continue operating at the present Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang even after May 9.

The LCCT will cease operations on May 9, with the Government moving all relevant agencies such as the Immigration and Customs to the spanking new airport, KLIA2.

AirAsia said Tuesday that it was not moving to the new RM4bil airport until certain conditions were met.
The budget carrier is expected to be called up soon by a parliamentary panel for its views on KLIA2.

"We will see on that day," Abdul Aziz responded briefly to reporters on the sidelines of the Airport Cities Conference and Exhibition 2014 hosted by the Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) here Wednesday.


MH370: Malaysia Continues Being Transparent In Providing Information

Even though it has been 24 days since the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the Malaysian Government continues to be transparent in providing information to family members of the passengers and crew.

Today, the Transport Ministry released the full radio telephony transcript between the aircraft and the Kuala Lumpur Air Control Tower to the families of the passengers and crew, while international experts will give them a briefing tomorrow.

Royal Malaysian Air Force Major General Datuk Affendi Buang was quoted as saying the move on the briefing was aimed at giving detailed explanation to any technological questions from the family members.

The briefing which will be held in Kuala Lumpur is expected to be telecast live to family members of Chinese nationals in Beijing through video conferencing.

Previously, it was reported that family members were insisting that they be given a briefing by satellite experts as well as the search and rescue operation experts so that they could raise their own questions regarding MH370.

Technical experts from Malaysia, China and Australia will participate in the briefing which will be attended by the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia, said acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein in a statement here today.

The closed-door meeting will be co-chaired by the Department of Civil Aviation and MAS while the moderator will be the Prime Minister's special envoy to China, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting.

Meanwhile, Hishammuddin, who is also the Defence Minister, is currently in Hawaii to attend the first United States-Asean Defence Forum and related events.

While there, he is expected to share the latest developments on the search for MH370 with his Asean counterparts and the United States government.

Also today, the full radio telephony transcript between flight MH370 and Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control (ATCKL) was made available and is hoped will meet the wishes of the families of the passengers.

Hishammuddin said initially the transcript was part of police investigations and that the police were working to verify MAS' statement that initial investigations showed that the final words in the radio telephony conversation were uttered by the co-pilot.

"The real forensic recording tests are on-going," he said.

He also said there were no indications of anything abnormal in the transcript.

The efforts of the Malaysian government to ensure transparency in conducting the search operations on MH370 is a slap to certain foreign media which had previously reported that Malaysia seemed to be hiding vital information and did not want to share it with the public.

The issue that was brought up was media reports of the last words from MH370 which were reported to be "Alright, goodnight" , which have now been clarified as "Goodnight Malaysian three seven zero".

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is scheduled to make a two-day working visit to Perth, Australia, beginning Wednesday, to observe the multi-national operation to search for the aircraft.

Ten aircraft and nine ships helped in the search for the aircraft with the search operation size today amounting to 120,000 square kilometres west of Perth.

Bad weather in the search area with limited visibility range has not stopped the operations.

Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, left the KL International Airport at 12.41 am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later while over the South China Sea. It was to have landed in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day.

A multinational search was mounted for the aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then, after it was learned that the plane had veered off course, along two corridors - the northern corridor stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand and the southern corridor, from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.

Following an unprecedented type of analysis of satellite data, United Kingdom satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) concluded that Flight MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak then announced on March 24, seventeen days after the disappearance of Boeing 777-200 aircraft, that Flight MH370 "ended in the southern Indian Ocean". The search continues there.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014



Media Release
1 April 2014

Ten planes and nine ships will assist in Tuesday's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has determined a search area of about 120,000 square kilometres, west of Perth.

Ten military plane, two Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orions, two Malaysian C-130s, a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76, a United States Navy P8 Poseidon, a Japanese Gulfstream jet, a Republic of Korea P3 Orion, a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3, a Japanese P3 Orionwill assist in the search, with a civil jet providing a communications relay.

Nine ships have been tasked to search in four separate areas. Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield departed HMAS Stirling on Monday night, with a pinger locator.

Weather in the search area is expected to be poor, with areas of low visibility.

A Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) was established on Monday and is being led by Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Angus Houston AC AFC (Ret'd) in Perth to effectively communicate Australian government activities in relation to the search and recovery operation.

This Australian government initiative will provide timely information to families of passengers and crew on board the missing aircraft and inform the public about the latest available information.