Thursday, December 31, 2015

Government won't take easy way out to solve national challenges

The Government will not hesitate to make tough and unpopular decisions to ensure that the country's security, unity, and bright future remains protected, says Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

In his new year's message to Malaysians, the Prime Minister said the country's goal for 2016 was to be a safer, more prosperous, and more equal society.

"In pursuit of that, the Government will not hesitate to take the tough, necessary and right decisions – even if they are not popular – in order to protect the people from the scourges of terrorism; to protect our precious unity that safeguards our unique diversity; and to protect that bright future that is the birthright of every Malaysian, and for which I can assure you the government will always strive with every sinew," he said in a blog posting.

Najib said 2015 had been a year of "unprecedented challenges" for Malaysia, noting the impact of dropping oil prices on the country's economy, natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes, and the threat of the Islamic State.

In the face of these challenges, he said, the government had not looked for the easy and popular route, but instead chose to take a position of leadership.

The introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was one example of doing what was truly right for the people, the Prime Minister pointed out.

"A new tax is rarely welcomed. But amidst falling oil prices, if we had not had the revenue from GST, our fiscal deficit would rise from 3.1% to 4.8% for 2016.

"This would cause the credit rating agencies to downgrade Malaysia, which would result in higher interest rates, investment – including from overseas – to go down, and a serious reduction in employment opportunities along with other hardships for the people," he said.

Najib said the well-being and advancement of the people was the cornerstone of every Government policy, adding that he was fully aware that many Malaysians were hit hard by rising prices and worried about good jobs for themselves and their children.

He said this was why he announced measures in Budget 2016 to bring down taxes for middle-income families, raise the minimum wage, and increase allocation for the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) cash handouts.

Other measures included building 175,000 new affordable housing units, strengthening the quality of education and enhancing infrastructure projects to improve connectivity and offer fresh employment opportunities.

The Prime Minister said that the Government's priorities for 2016 were to strengthen the resilience of the economy, manage the impact of external vulnerabilities and safeguard the interests of the people.

He reiterated that no Malaysian would be left behind in the country's progress, and urged all Malaysians regardless of their political affiliations to support the Government's reforms.

"If we can put past divisions behind us, and embrace anew what joins us together as citizens of the country we are so proud of, I am sure that 2016 can be a year in which we move confidently together, as one, towards that future.

"I would like to wish all Malaysians a happy, prosperous and safe New Year," Najib wrote.

IGP: A right to self-defence does not mean you can kill someone

The public has been advised to study the legal provisions under Section 99 of the Penal Code to understand the right to self-defence before making assumptions, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

Khalid was responding to the probe over the decision to charge a man who allegedly killed a robber in self-defence for murder in Terengganu.

The charge sparked outrage among netizens.

Khalid also questioned the Bar Council and human rights lawyers for not educating the public.

"If someone robs us, that doesn't mean that we can kill him.

"Section 99 of the Penal Code clearly outlines the limits of self-defence, not just for the public, but for us (the police) too.

"When it comes to other matters, Bar Council is quick to comment. Why keep quiet on this?

"This is where the Bar Council plays a role in educating the public," he said in Bukit Aman on Thursday.

Khalid added that the right to self-defence does not extend to inflicting more harm than is necessary.

Recently, netizens were outraged when a story on social media of a man named Zulkifli, who is allegedly facing the gallows after stabbing to death a robber who broke into his home, in Kerteh, Terengganu, went viral.

The story reported that he was charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder and Section 326 for voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ahmad Maslan: I am being unfairly maligned by press and public

Deputy International Trade and Industry minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan (pic) says he is being unfairly maligned by the press and public.

Ahmad said his intentions were good when he proposed that Malaysians take up a second job, including an online business to cope with the rising cost of living.

He said his original statement on Saturday and subsequent tweets on the issue were "spun negatively."

He pointed out that Malaysians spent a lot of time on social media, online and on their smartphones and that these factors could help them be successful in an online business.

Ahmad was undeterred by the criticism and said Malaysians would eventually recognise the truth of what he said.

The Umno information chief acknowledged being a magnet for criticism and said he also faced brickbats while defending the Goods and Services Tax (GST) earlier this year.

Ahmad said he had seen the benefits of what GST could do for a country while a student in New Zealand in 1996.

He said he had no problem facing the criticism which came with supporting GST while he was deputy Finance Minister.
Ahmad said he had been proven right and pointed out the revenue from GST had offset the losses from low crude oil prices.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Ahmad Maslan: #2kerja I mean a day job and an online business

 In defending his suggestion that Malaysians take on two jobs to cope with the rising cost of living, Datuk Ahmad Maslan says he meant it in the context of having an online business on top of a day job.

He said he himself has three jobs - member of parliament, deputy minister in the International Trade and Industry and Umno information chief.

“I have three jobs: member of parliament, deputy minister, and Umno information chief. There are already many people in Malaysia who do #2kerja. (They are) working hard to find halal income,” he said on Tuesday, using the hashtag #2kerja, which translates as “two jobs.”

“If your existing job is during the day, you can manage an online business at night or during weekends as long as your performance isn’t affected; it can increase income,” he posted.

Earlier, Ahmad sparked a backlash with his remarks at a function with Johor entrepreneurs on Saturday, that it was normal for those living in rural areas to have multiple jobs.

Ahmad, the Pontian MP, pointed out that "some tap rubber in the morning and farm in the evening, while others cut grass in the morning and build homes in the evening."

Ahmad, however, clarified a report in Astro Awani with a headline suggesting that the government was encouraging people to work two jobs.

"I mentioned that the Ministry encourages online business as a means to increase income and is the current trend in commerce. The Astro Awani headline is inaccurate," he added.

“#2kerja There are rules which need to be followed for those who have fixed jobs, so follow them. But for those who work for themselves, there’s no issue,” he tweeted.

Ahmad also took a swipe at his critics, pointing out that even Oppositions leaders had more than one job.

“#2kerja Lim Guan Eng - state assemblyman, MP, and Chief Minister. Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail - state assemblyman, MP, Opposition leader. Three jobs. I suggested existing job + online business. Angry?” he said.

Zahid: DAP's statement on Israel not in line with Malaysia's stand

DAP's criticism of an official move to deny visas for two Israeli athletes was not in line with Malaysia's policy, the Deputy Prime Minister said.  

"We have a clear stand from the angle of diplomatic relations with Israel and the remark by DAP is something against our policy," Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters here Monday.

He added that the party's view was not in line with national sensitivities. 

Two Israeli windsurfers were to compete at the International Sailing Federation world youth championships in Langkawi, which began Sunday.  

Online reports said that the two were originally subject to demands by Malaysia to restrict the use of Israeli flags and symbols.  

Malaysia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel, and also regularly condemns it over its attacks on Palestinians there.  

Reports of the athletes being denied entry visas followed with Perak DAP leader Chong Zhemin criticising the move.  

Chong later retracted his statement and expressed support for the Palestinian struggle.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

MACC chief Abu Kassim meets PM over RM2.6bil donation

Officials from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), including its chief Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed,  are believed to have met Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak over the RM2.6bil donation in the latter's bank account.

Abu Kassim was seen leaving Parliament at around noon, while the Prime Minister’s vehicle was also seen parked in the compound of Menara Parlimen.

The meeting is said to have taken place at the Prime Minister’s office located in the tower. Several Finance Ministry officials were also seen entering the building in a separate vehicle.

Sources from MACC had earlier revealed that the anti-graft body would record a statement from Najib, though it remained unclear where and when this would take place.

It is believed that today's meeting was arranged to set a suitable date and time for the commission to question Najib.

The Prime Minister had said recently that he would give a statement to MACC to assist in the ongoing probe into allegations of graft in 1Malaysia Development Berhad and its subsidiary, SRC International Bhd.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohd Apandi Ali has said he would ask Najib to meet MACC to hasten the investigations.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was present in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday morning to offer an explanation on the RM2.6bil on Najib's behalf.

Nurul referred to Parliament's rights committee over Kiram photo

 Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has been referred to Parliament's Rights and Privileges Committee for going against her oath as a parliamentarian.

Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said a motion to cite Nurul Izzah over her meeting with self-styled Sulu princess Jacel Kiram was approved via bloc voting with 105 votes for and 77 against.

Earlier, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said it was the best platform for Nurul Izzah to explain herself in front of the committee.

"That will be fair as the committee is represented not only by members of the government but by the Opposition bench," she said.

Datuk Dr Marcus Mojigoh (BN-Putatan) said it was wrong for any party to ask for help from a foreign government to secure the release of a prisoner.

"If they really want help, they should meet the head of state, not the enemy," he said.

Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) described the motion as "an abuse of parliamentary process."

"We have repeatedly denied that there was no hidden motives during the meeting, but the other side do not want to listen to our explanation," he said.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Parliament: Najib moves to increase Sarawak state seats to 82

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tabled a motion in Parliament to adopt the the Election Commission's recommendations on the Sarawak delineation exercise.

The motion is to increase the state legislative assembly seats from 71 to 82.

The new electoral boundaries will take effect before the 11th Sarawak state elections due next year.

The exercise will not affect the 31 parliamentary constituencies in the state, which will remain the same. There will, however, be changes in the boundaries of some constituencies due to the new state seats.

According to Bernama, the new state seats are Batu Kitang, Stakan, Serembu, Bukit Semuja, Gedong, Kabong, Tellian, Bukit Goram, Murum, Samalaju and Mulu.

Najib said the exercise was necessary as there had been an 18% increase in the number of voters in Sarawak since the last exercise in 2005.

He said EC's recommendations were intended to reduce the burden on elected representatives, especially where communication and transportation facilities were very limited.

"It is hoped that the recommendations will assist the wakil rakyat in serving more effectively and increase the economic status and development in rural areas," he said when tabling the motion at the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.

The EC report on the Sarawak delimitation and delineation exercises was gazetted on Aug 21 and presented to Najib.

Chaos at KLIA2 as Air Asia pilots down with flu

Hundreds of passengers were left stranded at KL International Airport 2 in Sepang after AirAsia pilots reported sick on Tuesday.

Some flights were cancelled, others delayed forcing the passengers to spend the night at the airport.
While most affected flights were local, an international flight reported to have been cancelled was to Bangkok's Don Meuang Airport.

AirAsia CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said at least 12 pilots came down with flu.

The flights schedule became chaotic after flights were re-timed. Some passengers were told that their flights were moved to other flights but were later cancelled.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Lawyer Americk Sidhu denies having information on pen drive of murdered DPP Kevin Morais

 Lawyer Americk Sidhu has denied having any information regarding the contents of a pen-drive allegedly given to his client Charles Morais by his brother and deputy public prosecutor Datuk Anthony Kevin Morais before he was murdered.

“I’m not aware. I don’t know anything about it,” he told the Star Online on Tuesday.

According to Americk, Charles had only informed him of the existence of the pen drive but nothing else.

In a statutory declaration released on Monday, Charles claimed that Kevin had told him that he was working on a case involving a top politician and his wife.

He had also claimed that his Kevin had sent him a pen drive a month before his death for safekeeping.

On Sunday, the police announced that they would be calling Americk in to provide a statement over the statutory declaration signed by Charles.

However, the meeting has been rescheduled to two days later.

“They cancelled their appointment with me today. The inspector who is doing it is busy. It’s being rescheduled for this Thursday,” he said.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had also urged Charles to share his findings with the police, saying that failure to do so would be tantamount to withholding evidence, which is an offence.

Kevin went missing on Sept 4 after leaving his home in Menara Duta for work in Putrajaya.

He was abducted by several men following a minor accident along Jalan Dutamas.

A DNA test on a body found in a cemented oil drum dumped in a swamp in Subang Jaya on Sept 16 identified the remains as that of Kevin’s.
Army pathologist Kol Dr R. Kunaseegaran and seven others have been charged with the abduction and murder of Kevin.