Saturday, May 31, 2008

PM: Learn from history - Human capital an integral element of Islamic civilization

Timely reminder: Abdullah launching ‘The Encyclopedia of Islam and Iran: Dynamics of Culture and the Living Civilisation’ in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. Looking on is Dr Velayati.
KUALA LUMPUR: History has taught that civilisation will suffer whenever the people's thoughts are threatened by corruption and decay, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.
The Prime Minister said that because of that, mistakes made throughout history should be understood so that they are not repeated.
“I believe this explanation to be true for the Islamic civilisation,” he said at the launch of The Encyclopedia of Islam and Iran: Dynamics of Culture and the Living Civilisation at the Islamic Arts Museum here yesterday.
History has taught us that human capital development has in fact been very much an integral element in the rise and decline of civilisations,” he said, adding that the passage of Islamic civilisation was repetitive in nature.
He said whenever institutionalised thought became weak and insignificant, civilisation would also suffer a similar blow.
“Sadly, however, we still seem to find ourselves mired in confusion and ignorance which have left the indelible imprint of difficulty and despair over much of the Muslim world. Clearly, we have not been conscious of their mistakes,” he said.
However, Abdullah said that all was not lost and that Muslims were not pessimistic about their future.
“We are confident that Islam will provide us guidance,” he said.
Abdullah reminded Muslim leaders to remain dynamic and place emphasis on education.
“Otherwise our efforts in promoting human capital development will be relegated to the realm of mere slogan,” he added.
Abdullah said the book written by Dr Ali Akbar Velayati, who is currently an adviser in international affairs to Iran’s supreme leader, captured the essence of this rise and decline throughout the Islamic civilisation.
The encyclopedia is the English translation of Dr Velayati’s work, Mawsu’ah al-Islam wa Iran: Dinamikiyyah al-Thaqafah wa Haywiyyah al-Hadarah which was orginally published in the Persian language and subsequently rendered into Arabic.
At the event, Abdullah received a cheque for RM800,000 for victims of the cyclone in Myanmar from Al-Bukhary Foundation chairman Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary.

Tadau Kaamatan: Sabah looking forward to good 'harvest' with PM's visit

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah leaders are expecting some "goodies" from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi during his two-day visit to the state from Saturday to attend the national-level Tadau Kaamatan or Harvest Festival celebrations, The Star reported.
Among the announcements Abdullah is expected to make is the abolition of the controversial Department of Federal Development Sabah (JPPS), set up when the state was ruled under then-Opposition Parti Bersatu Sabah in 1991.Following this, federal development funds are expected to be channelled through the Sabah Development Office, under the Chief Minister's Department that will identify projects needing federal funding.
Barisan leaders said they also expected the Prime Minister to address the long-standing issue of the state's illegal immigrants by setting up a high-powered Cabinet panel to work on the framework of a long-term solution.
He is also expected to announce the immediate standardisation of prices of subsidised goods nationwide that will benefit Sabah and Sarawak consumers who have been paying more than their peninsula counterparts.
Several Sabah MPs said it was crucial for Abdullah to show he was acting on the issues raised. "Sabahans are waiting to see if the Prime Minister really cares about them. We do not expect him to solve all problems overnight, but at least something 'manis-manis' (sweet) must be given," said Kalabakan MP Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh.
State Barisan leaders also expected Abdullah to announce more federal funding for projects in the state, although they did not anticipate any announcement in connection with their call for higher oil royalty.
"We are expecting some Kaamatan cheer but we don't expect all our requests to be met," said a senior component leader, adding that they did not expect a special Sabah ministry to be set up, if answers in Parliament were any indication.
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman, when asked if he expected any major announcements from the Prime Minister, said, "Let him come first."
Apart from opening the Ka'amatan national open house where some 30,000 people are expected, the Prime Minister will also visit Sandakan on Sunday to visit the proposed site for the Malaysia International Rainforest Flora and Fauna Show 2009 at the Rainforest Discovery Centre.

update 6/1/2008:


Rich harvest for Sabah - Sabah to reap whole lot of benefits from Federal Government: KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi kicked off his two-day visit to Sabah with good news to the people of the state.
The Prime Minister’s “Kaamatan gift” covered a range of areas, many of which are seen by the people in the state as urgently needed to solve the problems they face.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Musa Aman: Nur Misuari's call a non-issue

source: nst
KOTA KINABALU: Nur Misuari's call for the International Court of Justice to resolve Sabah's status in relation to the Philippines claim over the state is a non-issue, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said yesterday.

He said there was "no need to address the matter" raised by Nur Misuari at a Moro National Liberation Front gathering in Davao City, south of the Philippines, over the weekend. However, Musa declined to elaborate.

MindaNews of the Philippines had reported Nur Misuari's call and the story was subsequently posted on the Malaysia Today website.

In his speech at the gathering, Nur Misuari had challenged Malaysia to show proof that Sabah belonged to the country.

Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee had said on Monday that "rumblings from Davao City" over the Philippines' claim on Sabah warranted the immediate attention of the National Security Council in Putrajaya and the Sabah State Security Committee.

Dewan Rakyat: 1st sitting, 1st term - Lively but overall smooth sitting of the House

source: bernama via themalaysianinsider ; pix: nst
KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 ─ The first sitting for the first term of the Dewan Rakyat, which began on April 28 and ended yesterday, generally went well despite some disruptions at times, Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said.
Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby, he said the disruptions were caused by some members who were adamant to speak and raised issues that led to verbal tiffs among them.
Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop said the presence of the opposition members was noticeable this time but lamented that many of them failed to follow the rules on the order of the House.
Abu Seman's view was shared by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who fould the opposition members to be concerned with trivial matters.
"Sometimes, this prevented us from discussing more serious matters which concern the people," he said.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, who is in his fifth term as a MP, said there had never been so many people present in the Parliament building when the House held its sittings.
"There were always many people at the hall and various activities were being held, unlike previously. This is a good development," he added.
He said that the half an hour live telecast of the Parliament sitting by Radio Televisyen Malaysia gave the opposition members the opportunity to show off their "act".
He also said that the quality and contents of the matters discussed this time were more indepth.
Opposition leader and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Ismail, who is Permatang Pauh MP, said the Speaker did a good job by giving opposition members the opportunity to participate in the debate. ─ Bernama

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Malaysian opposition shrugs off defection to ruling party

source: text- AfP via MSN Malaysia News, pix - klpos
Malaysia's opposition on Thursday shrugged off a senior member's defection to the ruling party, which came as a rare victory for embattled Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Ezam Mohamad Nor, a former member of opposition figurehead Anwar Ibrahim's Keadilan party, was welcomed back into the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) on Wednesday.

He had left the party in 1999 after the sacking of Anwar, a one-time deputy premier who spent six years in jail on corruption and sex charges before being freed and storming back onto the political scene.

Ezam, who had served as Anwar's political secretary, quit Keadilan last year reputedly after a power struggle with another top party official.

"Ezam's decision will have little impact on the party. We are on an upward trend now. We have had people who left the party in hard times and we survived," said Keadilan information chief Tian Chua.

"I suppose we must thank him for joining UMNO only after the general election. At any other time it might have had some impact but now it will not stop our momentum," he told AFP.

The three-party opposition alliance dealt a severe blow to the UMNO-led coalition in March 8 general elections, seizing control of five states and a third of parliamentary seats in an unprecedented result.

Anwar has said he is confident of attracting enough defecting lawmakers to topple Abdullah's administration, which has been thrown into crisis by the election drubbing.

"There have been even worse betrayals. I don't think this will affect Anwar that much ... UMNO is a sinking boat," Chua said.

Ezam's return to UMNO was splashed in the government-linked media Thursday, with prominent photographs of him handing his membership registration form to Abdullah.

"No conditions are attached to Ezam's readmission. He does not get any special treatment or privileges. He has also not sought any position. He just wants to serve and struggle for the party," Abdullah reportedly said.

updates/kemaskini:
Ezam Ready To Go For Umno Youth Chief Post If There Is Support - PETALING JAYA, May 29 (Bernama) -- Former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Youth chief, Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor, said he was ready to contest the Umno Youth chief post if his leadership could help raise the status of the Malays as a respected race.
However, he said, being new in the party might not allow him to make such a big decision.
Still, Mohamad Ezam said, he would discuss the matter with other Umno leaders before making decision.
"I have to discuss first with the leadership and with friends. If the post is for party and national interests and in the interest of the Malays, I will seriously consider," he said.
He was asked to comment on the possibility that his entry into Umno was to fill the post to be vacated by current Umno Youth chief, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

Azmin Ali: We're not worried - KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is not worried about former members joining Umno.
Commenting on the move by Anuar Shaari and Khairul Anuar Ramli, the two former PKR members who joined former PKR Youth chief Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor in submitting their applications to join Umno, vice-president Azmin Ali said they ceased to be PKR members a long time ago."This is irrelevant to me. I don't see this as a big deal as they were no longer party members." He questioned their credibility, saying that some of them were former Umno members who were with PKR, and then left to rejoin Umno."These characters kept on rejoining Umno. It is just a political gimmick," he said. He said the action of the three men was no indication that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the de facto Pakatan Rakyat leader, had failed to get Barisan Nasional leaders to cross over. "The time-frame given was until Sept 16 and we are taking our time to ensure a smooth transition. "In between, if they want to have a sandiwara with non-PKR members, that is their choice. We are busy with our work in strengthening the administration of the five Pakatan states."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Malaysia’s Middle Rocks The Dot Of An Exclamation Mark To Sleep Beyond South Ledge

Fishermen can access Middle Rocks – nst
By : V. Anbalagan from the The Hague
MALAYSIAN fishermen can now operate freely in the waters off Middle Rocks following the International Court of Justice's ruling, which awarded the uninhabited outcropping to Malaysia, an academician said.

Professor Dr Nik Anuar Nik Mahmud, senior lecturer with The Malay World and Civilisation Institute, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said the navy and marine police could patrol the area without hindrance.

He said the air force would also have access to the airspace.

"We have been denied entry to that locality since 1986 after Singapore took control of Pulau Batu Puteh (PBP) and the two maritime features. The republic has lost that exclusivity now," he told Malaysian journalists. – MORE

Fishermen can now go fishing off Middle Rocks – thestar

PENGERANG (Johor): For the first time in decades, Malaysian fishermen will be able to fish off Middle Rocks, which are just 0.6 nautical miles south of Pulau Batu Puteh (or Pedra Branca), which now officially belongs to Singapore.

Yesterday, the International Court of Justice granted ownership of Pulau Batu Puteh to Singapore and the Middle Rocks to Malaysia.

“We will have a larger area to fish in,” said a fisherman who has been in the business for more than 30 years.

While some were disappointed that Pulau Batu Puteh went to Singapore, the fishermen said that the decision was fair and that the waters off Middle Rocks were also abundant with fish like sagai, tenggiri and bawal. .

Rock judgment: Fishermen from the Pengerang Fishermen’s Association watching the live telecast on the long awaited verdict on Pulau Batu Puteh.

Most of the fishermen here are optimistic that the governments of Malaysia and Singapore will work out something beneficial to both countries. -- MORE

Kuasa Singapura terhad - Nelayan kita kini bebas memasuki Middle Rocks selepas 22 tahun dihalang – utusan
Daripada Noraini Abd. Razak, The Hague
THE HAGUE, Belanda 24 Mei – Nelayan-nelayan di Johor terutamanya di kawasan Pengerang yang dihalang selama 22 tahun daripada mendekati perairan Middle Rocks, kini bebas menangkap ikan di kawasan tersebut berikutan keputusan Mahkamah Keadilan Antarabangsa (ICJ) di sini semalam mengekalkan kedaulatan bentuk maritim itu kepada Malaysia.
Lebih daripada itu, Singapura yang sebelum ini bertindak mengawal perairan di Pulau Batu Putih, Middle Rocks dan South Ledge sejak tahun 1986 tidak lagi mempunyai kebebasan untuk berbuat demikian kerana bidang kuasa mereka kini terhad kepada Pulau Batu Putih semata-mata.
Ejen Bersama, Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin berkata, biarpun keputusan menyerahkan kedaulatan Batu Putih yang diakui oleh ICJ dari sudut sejarah adalah milik Kesultanan Johor (Malaysia) kepada Singapura dilihat oleh banyak pihak sebagai mendukacitakan tetapi hakikatnya, kedudukan nelayan-nelayan adalah lebih bebas berbanding sebelum ini.
Malah, katanya, Malaysia kini bebas dan mempunyai kuasa untuk melakukan pelbagai kegiatan di Middle Rocks dan perairan sekitarnya termasuk menempatkan kapal tentera laut, menjalankan kajian meteorologi dan mengawal ruang udara di kawasan tersebut - kesemuanya tidak dapat dilakukan sebelum ini.
''Keadaan akan menjadi lebih berfaedah apabila kita dengan penuh yakin dapat mengekalkan kedaulatan ke atas South Ledge berikutan kedudukannya yang begitu hampir dengan Middle Rocks.
''Berdasarkan pengamatan dan kajian terhadap kedudukan South Ledge, Malaysia amat yakin kita akan memperoleh satu lagi bentuk maritim menjadikan aktiviti kita di perairan tersebut lebih luas,'' katanya kepada wartawan Malaysia di sini, malam tadi.
ICJ dalam keputusannya semalam memutuskan bahawa kedudukan South Ledge hendaklah ditentukan menerusi rundingan antara Malaysia dan Singapura bagi menentukan di perairan negara mana ia terletak. – LAGI

Friday, May 23, 2008

ICJ to decide on May 23 sovereignty of Pulau Batu Puteh

source: nstonline
Six months after the end of the hearing of oral submissions over the sovereignty of Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to decide which country - Malaysia or Singapore — should have sovereignty over the disputed island and the two marine features.

The ICJ, which is based at The Hague in the Netherlands, will give its verdict on May 23, bringing to a close a 28-year-old territorial dispute over the island and the two features.

The court heard lengthy submissions from both countries from Nov 6 to 23 last year. Malaysia and Singapore had pledged to abide by the decision of the ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, whose decision is final and not subject to appeal.

Both the Malaysian foreign minister, Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, and his Singapore counterpart, George Yeo, had said the outcome of the case would not strain ties between the two neighbours. – Bernama

UEFA Champions League: Sir Alex Ferguson thanks fate for truimph - United bring cup home to Manchester

sources: reuters via yahoo! sports, pix: uefa Sir Alex Ferguson said "fate had played its hand" after his Manchester United side had defeated Chelsea FC on penalties to win the UEFA Champions League and bring cup home to Manchester...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Selangor State Legislative Assembly: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE - Selangor Sultan calls for prudence

text taken from: thesun by Maria J. Dass
SHAH ALAM (May 21, 2008): The Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah said today he viewed seriously the spending of the 2008 allocation for state assemblymen within the first two months of this year. Citing this issue that is being hotly debated and, in some cases, had even gone to the Anti-Corruption Agency, as an example, he suggested that the present state government adopt a more prudent spending culture and ensure that all allocations are spent wisely.

Opening the state legislative assembly, the Sultan called for increased accountability, prudent spending, fair distribution of wealth, good governance and the need for the public to help protect resources like water.

In early April, Selangor executive councilor in charge of local government Ronnie Liu revealed that the 54 Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblymen in the previous administration spent their total annual allocation of RM27 million meant for road and drainage repairs in 50 days. The RM500,000 that each of them received had been used up by February.

Sultan Sharafuddin said the 2008 budget for the state is aimed at equal distribution of wealth to ensure the people of Selangor enjoy a better quality of life. "The focus of this year’s budget expenditure is towards improving the state’s delivery system and good governance practices in addition to increasing revenue and boosting economic growth," he said, adding that the state government is working closely with the Special Task Force to Facilitate Business (Pemudah) at the national level towards this.

Sultan Sharafuddin also said although poverty level in the state had dropped over the last few years, he was concerned over the increasing cost of living in urban areas which cover 90% of Selangor as this could increase the urban poverty rate. He said assistance for the poor should be allocated fairly to all races, especially underprivileged groups like the Orang Asli, and added that the state should provide full assistance to school leavers who pursue technical skills courses.

He also urged the people to look after the resources of the state like water and reduce wastage and pollution of this precious resource. "This responsibility is not for the state government to shoulder alone and has to be one which is shared with the rakyat," he said. "Starting June 1, the first 20 cubic meters of water will be free to all. However, to reduce wastage, the water rates will increase according to the amount used," he said adding that the more water a person uses, the more he has to pay.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim later told reporters the first 20 to 35 cubic meters of water costs RM1.03 per cubic meter and RM2 for usage of 35 cubic meters and above.

Sultan Sharafuddin also announced that the state is studying the possibility of introducing a five-day work week, and the provision of services seven days a week.
He said the state should step up effort to attract investors by easing procedures for investors, and hopes to see them going to conducive investment centres -- especially to Klang Valley 2 (Sepang and Kuala Langat).
Sultan Sharafuddin also said the state will decrease the de-gazetting of forest reserves for property development so as to maintain at least 30% green area in Selangor.

Myanmar Cyclone Nargis: UN's Ban says will meet Myanmar junta leader in effort to boost aid

source: AfP via MSN Malaysia News
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he would meet Myanmar's junta leader Senior General Than Shwe during a visit starting Thursday to convince the generals to accept a wider cyclone relief effort.

"After going to the affected areas, I will meet with senior government officials, including Senior General Than Shwe," Ban told reporters shortly after landing Wednesday in neighbouring Thailand.

Ban, who could not get through to the reclusive junta leader in the aftermath of the May 2-3 storm which has left at least 133,000 people dead or missing, also said he wanted a relief logistics base set up inside Myanmar.

He was to spend the night in the Thai capital Bangkok before heading to Myanmar, one of the most poorest and most isolated countries in the world, on Thursday.

There has been an international uproar over the limits on the aid operation imposed by the isolated junta, which is deeply suspicious of the outside world.

Ban also echoed warnings about the upcoming planting season for Myanmar's next rice harvest, with aid groups warning that hunger and disease are stalking around two million desperate survivors of Cyclone Nargis.

"It may be too late for farmers to plant for the next harvest," the secretary general said.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Kedah State Legislative Assembly: Day 1 over in 90 minutes - Logging issues light up an otherwise dull proceeding

First day of Kedah state assembly over in 90 minutes: ALOR STAR: The first sitting of the State Assembly of the Pakatan Rakyat government lasted only 90 minutes. It started at 9am and was adjourned sine die about 10.30am. Mentri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak said he was happy with the smooth running of the sitting yesterday. “I had expected a much worse debate but I am happy that the sitting went on smoothly,” he said. During the sitting, seven questions were answered by the government relating to industrial, agricultural and religious matters.
Logging Issues Light Up Kedah Assembly: ALOR STAR, May 20 (Bernama) -- Logging issues lighted up an otherwise dull proceeding on the first day of the new session of the Kedah State Assembly here Tuesday.

Selangor State Legislative Assembly Session To Be Available Online

pix taken from: http://dun.selangor.gov.my/v1/
SHAH ALAM, May 20 (Bernama) -- The Selangor State Assembly session beginning Wednesday will be available online via 'video streaming' from the state's official portal http://www.selangor.gov.my/

Surfers can catch the opening of the first session by the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah at 8am Wednesday. Women's Affairs, Science, Technology and Innovation Committee chairman Rodziah Ismail said the assembly session would be available online from May 21-23 and on May 26 from 10am-4.30pm.

She said the online service was aimed at letting the people listen to the debates and see their elected representatives in action.

The four-day online service will cost the Selangor government RM13,000.

-- BERNAMA

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fatal Move: One bad move... kills them all

In the violent world of Hong Kong's triad, one false move can be fatal. A series of unexpected misfortunes challenge gang leader Sammo Hung and his mob, eventually leading to a bloody gangster war. Sammo Hung and his gang are moving closer to destruction as their every move backfires on them -- a drug deal turns bad, a kidnap victim is murdered, and a secret mission turns into a savage shoot-out with the police. Who is the mastermind behind these evil plots? Will Sammo be able to defy fate and survive?

TDM: Waa, saya di cabar ni...




Sepang Council aims for speedier delivery system in Cyberjaya

The Town Council of Sepang (MPS) says it will take various measures to enhance the delivery system here including speedier issuance of licenses and business permits for the convenience of investors and residents of Cyberjaya.

As one of the stakeholders of Cyberjaya, MPS will continue to enhance facilities here to ensure that it is a reknown (renown - ed.) global IT town, MPS chief, Tuan Azizan Mohd Sidin said.

He said MPS regularly discussed with other stakeholders such as Setia Haruman, Cyberview Sdn Bhd and Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) towards its objectives for the town."At the moment, we have 416 MSC status companies operating here. From that, 30 are multinational companies (MNCs) and 386 companies are small and medium enterprises involved in the Information Technology (IT) business,” he said at a ground breaking ceremony for the development of Showroom@Cyberjaya here, today.

Also present at the function were Chairman of Kumpulan Emkay Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar and Director of Lucky Cottage Sdn Bhd Peter Teh.
Tuan Azizan said Cyberjaya offered a completed enterprise space of 3.0 million sq ft excluding another 500,000 sq ft from MKN Embassy Techzone and 85,000 sq ft from Kumpulan Prima.

In terms of its population, Cyberjaya is unique as the MNCs here operate at odd and irregular hours, he said.

"We have about 35 workers in the day time and in the night about 14,000 people work. Hence, we also need recreational based night entertainment for the workers who comprise knowledge workers,” he said.

He also expressed hope that fast food restaurants such as McDonald, A&W and Burger King will take up tenancy at the upcoming Showroom@Cyberjaya building here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Iskandar Malaysia a project for Singapore to grow, says Mahathir

source: thestar via malaysia-today
JOHOR BARU: The Iskandar Malaysia project is a platform for Singapore to expand its sovereignty, said former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He explained that the project was intended to lure Singaporeans and Malay land would be sold to them for 10 times its worth.

“After the land is sold, the Malays will be driven to live at the edge of the forest and even the forest itself.

“In the end, the area in the Iskandar Malaysia will be filled with Singaporeans and populated with only 15% Malays,” he said yesterday during a forum and dialogue on the recent general election organised by Johor Umno grassroots and MyKMU.net.

Meanwhile, former Parit Sulong MP Datuk Noraini Ahmad (Datuk Ruhanie Ahmad, kuda-kepang.blogspot.com –ed.) said the project was designed to ease the creation of “Singapura Raya” where Singapore wanted to expand its land area.

Earlier in a statement as Perdana Global Peace Organisation chairman, Dr Mahathir condemned the move to allow American oil and gas company Halliburton to set up its RM200mil manufacturing plant in Iskandar Malaysia.

He said more than a million Iraqis had died when the United States invaded Iraq, and firms such as Halliburton had benefited from American control of oil flow in West Asia.

Dr Mahathir said the Government should not allow such companies to channel their ill-gotten profits to Malaysia.

Agence France-Presse - 5/18/2008 4:59 AM GMT
Project could force Malays from key state: Mahathir
Wealthy Singaporean investors may force ethnic Malays from a Malaysian state being touted as a key economic zone, former premier Mahathir Mohamad has warned.

Malaysia launched an ambitious project in 2006 to transform the idyllic southern Johor state into a metropolis to woo foreign investment and compete with neighbouring Singapore for manufacturing and logistics businesses.

Mahathir said the 17.7 billion-ringgit (4.8 billion-dollar) Iskandar Malaysia project was aimed at luring Singaporean investors and could see Malays forced out.

"After the land is sold, the Malays will be driven to live at the edge of the forest and even in the forest itself," Mahathir said in a weekend speech in Johor, the Star newspaper reported.

"In the end, the area in Iskandar Malaysia will be filled with Singaporeans and populated with only 15 percent Malays."

Mahathir has been a vocal critic of Malaysia's government since Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi aborted some of his projects, including a plan to build a bridge linking Johor and Singapore

Ex-Malaysian Leader Calls For Ban On HALLIBURTON
(AP) KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Saturday slammed the government's move to allow U.S. oilfield services provider Halliburton Co. to begin operating in Malaysia, saying the country doesn't need "blood money."

"It is appalling that we have allowed this war-profiteering company to invest in Malaysia," he said in a statement, referring to Halliburton's contracts in Iraq for the U.S. government. "Are we so void of our humanity that we have to allow these war criminals to come in and thrive in our economy?"

Mahathir, who remains a respected figure in the Islamic world after his retirement in 2003 after 22 years in power, urged the government to ban Halliburton from using their "ill-gotten profits to operate in any way" in Malaysia.

Halliburton recently launched a 200 million ringgit ($62.5 million) manufacturing center in the Iskandar Malaysia economic hub in southern Johor state.

Mahathir, a vocal critic of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, accused Halliburton, once led by Vice President Dick Cheney, of raking in billions of dollars in profits from the Iraq war.

Halliburton's stock price surged from $10 before the war to around $46 now after the company won a series of contracts in Iraq amounting to nearly $20 billion, he said.

"Do we really need the blood money of a neo-conservative entity that has played a role in the murder of innocent Iraqis to fund our development?" he said.

He described Cheney and President Bush as "war criminals" who should be put on trial for the Iraq war. Mahathir now heads the Perdana Global Peace Organization, a private group.

Iskandar Malaysia chief Ikmal Hijaz Hashim has defended Halliburton's investment, saying it will create jobs and benefit the country. The Iskandar hub is among five massive development programs nationwide by the government to woo investment and spur growth in rural areas.

11th MSC-IAP Meeting: Abdullah Wants IAP Members To Look Into Food Production

source: bernama via msc malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today urged the Malaysian International Advisory Panel (IAP) to consider the role of new technologies, innovation and applications in helping to increase food production and enhance the management of food and energy resources. "Given the current global economic scenario, with the world average food prices going up by 75 per cent since 2000, I feel it is perhaps the most opportune time to put Information Communication and Technology (ICT), agriculture and biotechnology to work to overcome some of the challenges that Malaysia and the rest of the world are currently facing," he said in his opening speech of the 11th Malaysia IAP Meeting held here. The prime minister said a flagship application which combined efforts in agriculture and biotechnology, along with advances in ICT, could be undertaken if there was enough interest.

"Perhaps, these could be the area of discussion and I invite IAP members to give their views on this," he said.

Abdullah said the Malaysian government will continue to build its strength by continuing to undertake sound economic policy management as well as diversifying the economic sector and our export destinations.

"Domestic demand constitutes about 87 per cent of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), boding well as a cushion against the negative effects of an increasingly unstable global economy.

"My government is committed to moving the Malaysian economy up the value chain. We will also continue to implement growth-centered as well as people-centered programmes and initiatives under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP)," he said. Meanwhile, Abdullah said the country had achieved much on the ICT front as after 12 years, MSC Malaysia was now home to more than 2,000 companies including home grown companies and multinationals, of which about 100 were leading global companies. "In 2007, MSC-status companies' turnover was approximately RM13.6 billion - an increase of more than 25 per cent compared to 2002.

"MSC Malaysia-status companies are also exporting more with the export figure from 2007 reported to be RM4.9 billion, this represents an increase of more than 40 per cent compared to 2002," said prime minister.

Abdullah said about RM800 million was spent by these companies in Research and Development (R&D) last year, which was more than three times the amount spent in 2002. To date, a total of 2,178 intellectual properties (IPs) of various kinds had been registered, he added.

WCIT 2008: 16th World Congress on Information Technology - Global Impact of Information and Communications Technology

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Murtad: Malaysian muslims protest against Shariah court ruling on renunciation of Islam

Malaysian muslims protest ruling on renunciation of Islam

A group of Muslims in Malaysia's northern Penang state staged a protest Friday to denounce an Islamic sharia court's rare ruling allowing a Chinese convert to renounce her faith.

Last week the Penang Sharia Court allowed 38-year-old Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah, or Tan Ean Huang, to renounce Islam and return to Buddhism.

Siti, a cook, told the court she had never practised Islamic teachings since converting in 1998 to marry Iranian Ferdoun Ashanian.

The couple married in 1999 but her husband left her months later and she filed for renunciation two years ago.

Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia, an Islamic hardline group, gathered outside the court and submitted a memorandum urging a judicial review of the decision.

"We outrightly disagree with the court decision as it is against Islamic laws. In Islam, a person who insists on leaving the religion must be punished with death," the group's president Abdul Hakim Othman told reporters.

Apostasy, or renouncing the faith, is one of the gravest sins in Islam and a very sensitive issue in Malaysia where Islamic sharia courts have rarely allowed such renunciations and have also jailed apostates.

Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, where more than 60 percent of its 27 million people are Muslim Malays.

The Islamic sharia courts operate in parallel to civil courts but apply specifically to Muslims.

Protest against syariah court ruling

GEORGE TOWN: A Kuala Lumpur-based political party yesterday submitted a memorandum protesting a recent Penang Syariah High Court ruling which allowed a Chinese convert to renounce Islam.

Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia urged the court to carry out a judicial review over the decision to allow the convert to return to her Buddhist faith.

Hizbut Tahrir president Abdul Hakim Othman said the party disagreed with the court's decision to allow Tan Ean Huang @ Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah to renounce Islam as it did not follow Islamic laws.

"In Siti Fatimah's case, the decision was made based on the Penang Islamic Administration Enactment 2006, which allowed her to leave Islam. We want the state government to review this enactment," he said outside the Syariah High Court here yesterday.

About 10 members of the party gathered there at 2.45pm but were told to disperse by about 20 policemen, led by Chief Inspector Mohd Asri Dun. They were on hand to monitor the situation.

Food Watch: Sarawak primed to be country's top rice-producing state

sources: text - nstonline, ricemap - d.i.d sarawak
KUCHING: With a vast area suitable for padi planting, Sarawak would be the country's main rice producer in the near future, state Secretary Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot said yesterday. He said this would help overcome the national rice shortage.

"Under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score), food-based industries are the top industries prioritised by the government," he said at a public forum on "rising prices and the people's welfare: current measures and future steps", organised by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (Isis).

Baya said the food-based industries included rice, palm oil, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture. "The state government will promote and develop these industries in a big way to meet the needs of both the local and export markets."

He also said a Halal Park would be built on a 10,000ha piece of land in Tanjung Manis in the Mukah Division. He said the federal government had identified Sarawak as one of the country's halal hubs under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. A vast stretch of land, from Tanjung Manis to Bakam in Miri Division, will have many development areas within Score.

Baya said the agriculture sector to be developed within Score would be the catalyst for modern farming in the state. "It will help the efforts to increase the production of food in terms of meat, fruits and vegetables. The efforts are quite relevant as we strive to reach self-sufficiency in food production."
He said Sarawak was feeling the effects of rising food prices brought about by rising fuel prices.
The Consumer Price Index jumped from 1.7 per cent last year to 2.8 per cent in the first quarter of this year.

Isis chairman and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Mohamed Jawhar Hassan said the soaring prices of food, if not contained, would have a serious effect on the people's well-being and the country.

In Asia, he said about one billion people were seriously affected by the increase in food prices. Worldwide, 33 countries were being threatened, socially and politically, by the food crisis due to many factors, including the rising price of oil.

He said there were people who predicted that the price of oil could reach US$200 per barrel (RM638), from the present US$125 per barrel.

The views at the forum would be submitted to the federal government, he added.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Indonesian poor to get 1.5 billion dollars in cash to offset fuel price hike: reports

Indonesia plans to transfer more than 1.5 billion dollars in cash to the poor to offset the cost of a planned hike in fuel prices, reports said Thursday.

The compensation program would see 14.18 trillion rupiah (1.53 billion dollars) transferred to 19.1 million poor families; the Bisnis Indonesia daily quoted Welfare Minister Aburizal Bakrie as saying.

The plan, which would reach 76.4 million people, would be distributed in monthly payments of 100,000 rupiah per household, the Jakarta Post reported.

Indonesia announced its intention to raise fuel prices last week, with rising global oil prices meaning the country is spending increasing amounts on its multibillion dollar subsidy scheme.

The price rise would be no more than 30 percent on average, Bakrie was quoted as saying by the Post.

A 30 percent rise would see the cost of premium gasoline climb to 6,000 rupiah (65 cents) a litre (2.46 dollars a US gallon) from 4,500 rupiah.

The administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says the move is essential to cut back the ballooning cost of its subsidy scheme, which outstrips spending on social programs and infrastructure.

But the government is facing mounting opposition from the street as well as parliament, where most parties have reportedly turned against the plan in a bid to win favour with voters ahead of elections next year.

Indonesia last raised its fuel price by 126 percent in 2005, sparking widespread street protests.

KL City Plan 2020: KLites, time to speak up!

KUALA LUMPUR: If you are unhappy with the air, the water, the streets you walk or issues related to the city, now is the time to speak out.

After more than 20 years of preparation, the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 is ready, and its draft copies can be viewed by the public from today.

The places to see the draft plans are City Hall (main lobby), Berjaya Times Square, TTDI Community Centre (library), KL Sentral (level 1), Gombak Community Centre, Carrefour Wangsa Maju (ground floor), Bandar Tun Razak Community Centre, Tesco Ampang, Kampung Kerinchi Community Centre, and Mid Valley City (level 1 and 2).

KLites have until June 30 to give their opinions on the draft plan to City Hall or voice their objections. After the deadline, the plan will be approved. Among the locations earmarked for development are Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Berjaya Times Square, TTDI Community Centre (library), KL Sentral station and Mid Valley City.
With the availability of the draft plan, the public can now have a good idea of how KL is going to be developed in the future.

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok said she hopes the views and requests of the public are accepted by City Hall and incorporated into the plan.

She urged members of the public to get a copy of the plan (which will be on sale from today), study it and voice their opinions.

Teresa said she was invited twice for meetings with City Hall to formulate the plan but she could not attend as the notice was given at the last minute.

"It gives the impression that Kuala Lumpur City Hall doesn't want to consult the MPs," she said.

Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai said: "Members of the public should get a copy of the book as this has important consequences on our way of living in the future.

He said the plan defines usage of land in the city and other important aspects of town planning such as public transport, basic amenities and green lungs.

He suggested that Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique allow all the Kuala Lumpur MPs to attend the meetings to study proposals and objections by KLites and residents' associations.

"We are representatives of the people, we know our areas well, he said.

Tan said he would meet soon with residents in Cheras and tell them what would happen to their neighbourhoods.

"I will gather their feedback and give it to City Hall on their behalf."

Local government and city planning expert, Derek Fernandez said the draft plan is a detailed zoning and development plan of Kuala Lumpur as required by law since 1984.

"It's an important plan to determine locations of the high rise projects, green lungs and many more. It's like the architect plan of a house such as the location of the bathroom, bedroom but on a bigger scale," he said.

Derek said if the Kuala Lumpur Local Plan 2020 is approved with everything clearly spelt out, it would lead to fewer disputes with the residents and the local authorities.

"If the plan is too general, it can give rise to contentious issues. But once the plan is gazetted, there would be no more public hearing and the residents have to comply with everything in the plan," he said.

He said city folk should ask for the right to be heard even after the plan was approved as even the Petaling Jaya Local Draft Plan 1 allows it.

PM: RM11.8b to build Putrajaya

source: the malaysian insider
KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 ─ RM11.8 billion. That's the cost to develop Putrajaya, the new federal government administrative centre. To be exact, it is RM11,831 million.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi disclosed this in a written reply in the Dewan Rakyat to Liew Chin Tong (DAP-Bukit Bendera) yesterday.

Abdullah said it covered the construction of government offices and quarters, the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) and the official residences of the prime minister, deputy prime minister, ministers and judges.

"Apart from that, it also covered the development of infrastructure such as tunnels, roads, bridges, towers as well as public amenities like parks, squares and lakes," he said.

Abdullah said the government offices in Putrajaya were constructed under the build, lease and transfer method. Putrajaya Holdings constructed the buildings on government land, leased them to the government for 25 years at a monthly charge of RM2.50 per sq ft and, at the end of the concession period, transferred the buildings to the government.

The prime minister said the government paid Putrajaya Holdings an annual rent of RM929.7 million last year. It paid RM878.1 million in 2006, RM732 million in 2005 and RM434 million in 2004. ─ Bernama

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

three Muslim men and two soldiers with a government-backed militia killed in Thai south: police

source: AFP via Yahoo! Malaysia News
NARATHIWAT, Thailand (AFP) - - Suspected separatist rebels have shot dead five people in the insurgency-hit Thai south, police said on Tuesday.

Two soldiers with a government-backed militia were killed when they were off-duty Monday evening in Narathiwat, one of three southern provinces beset by a bloody separatist movement.

Also Monday, three Muslim men were killed in two separate attacks in nearby Pattani province, police in the region said.

The slew of killings came two days after Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej paid his first visit to the restive region since taking office in January. He said on his Sunday television show that the violence had recently eased.

More than 3,000 people have been killed since separatist unrest broke out in January 2004 in the south, which was an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate until mainly Buddhist Thailand annexed it in 1902, provoking decades of tension.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Malaysia to spend 1.472 billion ringgit to subsidise rice farmers this year

source: AFP via MSN Malaysia News
Malaysia will spend 1.472 billion ringgit (458 million dollars) this year to subsidise rice farmers and import more rice from Thailand to bolster its stockpile, the agriculture minister said Tuesday. Agriculture minister Mustapa Mohamed said the government would also spend an additional 254 million ringgit to boost local rice production, as the price of Asia's staple diet continued to soar. "We want to make sure that the interest of the low-income earners are protected and that is why the government is willing to accept a big loss as a result of the large subsidies we are giving," Mustapa told reporters. "We cannot afford to let down the poor in society who will be hit the hardest by the increase in rice prices," he added.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi late Monday announced the country would, for the first time, spend at least 725 million ringgit to subsidise foreign rice imports to keep retail prices of the staple affordable. He also said the price of two popular local rice types -- a higher quality and an average grade -- will be capped from June 1 to keep manufacturers from raising their prices further and burdening consumers. The minimum guaranteed market price has also been raised to benefit farmers who sell rice to encourage them to grow more of the crop. -- MORE

Measures to keep price of rice down KUALA LUMPUR: The government announced measures to hold down the price of rice yesterday, including securing supplies of price-controlled 15 per cent broken rice and setting price caps for two other grades of the grain. Full Story
Move to cost govt RM719m a year KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's move to raise the retirement age of civil servants will cost the government about RM719 million a year starting from next year, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said. Full Story
Thai sellers want us to pay more BANGKOK: The Malaysian government and Thai rice exporters are deadlocked over the "price tag" for new purchases, with the world's biggest rice exporter insisting on the current market level of about US$1,000 (RM3,197) a tonne. Full Story

iProperty.com Malaysia Wins Best Property Portal Award

text taken from bernama
KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 (Bernama) -- iProperty.com Malaysia has been named the country's Best Property Portal in the CNBC Asia Pacific Property Awards 2008.
Other property portals within the extensive iProperty.com network, including Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines, also clinched similar awards for their respective markets.

iProperty.com is the first company to have ever won an award in four countries for the same category at the International Property Awards, iProperty.com said in a statement today.

The CNBC Asia Pacific Property Awards is part of the International Property Awards, which began in 1995 in London, and has since established itself as the premier annual programme that distinguishes Asia Pacific companies with the highest levels of achievement in a range of property-related fields in 21 categories.

Winners are usually identified as companies and individuals raising the standards by providing excellent skills and services and continually reaching new heights in quality and innovation.

Patrick Grove, Executive Chairman of the iProperty.com Group, said: "In Malaysia, we are already the clear market leader in the online property space, with over 35,000 quality property listings by over 1,500 accredited real estate agents and the country's top developers."

He said the prestigious win definitely reinforces its position in Malaysia and the region as Asia’s leading online property group.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Malaysian phased pullout of troops to begin May 10: minister

Source: AFP via MSN Malaysia News
Malaysia's foreign minister says his country will pull out its peacekeeping forces from the troubled Philippine province of Mindanao in a phased withdrawal beginning May 10.

Rais Yatim, who was on a two-day working trip to the Philippines, said his government was unable to continue with an unlimited deployment in the international monitoring team (IMT), according to a foreign ministry statement released late Wednesday.

Rais said he hoped the Malaysian decision would "give an opportunity to both groups to reevaluate the issues under discussion in the context of the peace process," the statement added.

He said however that Malaysia was committed to helping resolve the Philippine situation.

On Wednesday Rais met with Philippine President Gloria Arroyo and foreign secretary Alberto Romulo following a call from Manila for Malaysia to continue to support the peace process in the country's south after its pullout.

Last month, Malaysia said it would not send more monitors of a 2003 ceasefire between Manila and separatist rebels in Mindanao once their current mandate expires in September.

Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) struck a deal last November to create a Muslim homeland in the country's south but further talks have not been successful.

Malaysian troops have made up the bulk of an international team that has been monitoring the ceasefire since 2004.

updates:
Malaysian troops begin pullout from troubled Philippine south
Agence France-Presse - 5/10/2008 8:36 AM GMT
Malaysian soldiers who were monitoring a ceasefire between the Philippine government and Muslim separatists on Saturday began their pullout from the troubled southern island, eyewitnesses and airport officials said.

The withdrawal of 40 Malaysian troops from four cities in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao will leave just 21 Malaysian soldiers in the south.

A Malaysian military cargo plane flew to the cities of Davao and General Santos to pick up contingents there before stopping in Cotabato and the port city of Zamboanga before returning to Malaysia.

The head of the monitoring team, Major General Bin Yashin Daud, earlier said that the rest of the team, who are still in Cotabato City, would return to Malaysia when their mandate ends in September.

Malaysian forces had made up the bulk of the international team monitoring a ceasefire signed in 2003 between the Philippine government and the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which was intended to pave the way for peace talks. -- MORE


Libya sends peacekeepers as Malaysia pulls out: Philippines
Agence France-Presse - 5/12/2008 10:46 AM GMT
Libya is to boost its peacekeeping force in the southern Philippines, a Filipino official said Monday, as Malaysia began pulling out its troops amid an impasse in peace talks with Muslim separatists.
President Gloria Arroyo asked Libya to help as Malaysia began a phased withdrawal of its 40 soldiers and policemen from the southern island of Mindanao.
Tripoli, which already has six monitors on Mindanao, has agreed to send 25 people to fill the void left by the Malaysians, said Jesus Dureza, an Arroyo adviser on the peace process.
The small multinational peacekeeping team has been monitoring a ceasefire between Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) since 2003 and is credited with reducing conflict and tensions in the region.
Manila's political settlement with the 12,000-member MILF has become bogged down in recent months over the breadth of territory to be put under the rebel group's control.
Kuala Lumpur said last week it would not continue with an unlimited deployment in the monitoring team without any apparent progress in the peace talks, sparking fears of renewed civil war.
"The Libyan government has agreed to send 25 ceasefire monitors to assist (and) sustain the ceasefire in Mindanao," Dureza said in a statement.
Spokesmen for the Libyan embassy here could not be reached for comment late Monday.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Three-phase plan to develop Sabah: Visiting foreign journalists given briefing on the SDC

text taken from nstonline
KOTA KINABALU: Journalists from 17 countries, including South Africa and Ukraine, are expected to report on steps being taken to turn Sabah into one of the most liveable places in Asia within two decades.

Institute for Development Studies Sabah (IDS) executive director Datuk Dr Mohd Yaakub Johari told 30 visiting journalists that the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) blueprint, launched in January, will make this vision come true in three phases.

He said the first phase focuses on addressing the basic elements to support tourism development and laying the foundations for future growth. World-class tourism infrastructure and services will be put in place, including nurturing a vibrant arts and culture scene.

"Phase two will focus on strengthening Sabah's position as a premier eco-adventure destination through conservation, research and sustainable development of new tourism products anchored by signature resorts.

"Phase three will see Sabah being transformed into one of the most liveable places in Asia - a bustling metropolis within a tropical paradise," Mohd Yaakub added.

The journalists, who spent six days here, attended a briefing on the state's development corridor on Tuesday.

Apart from several Malaysians, the other journalists were from Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, Seychelles, Brunei and Indonesia.

Mohd Yaakub said among the major goals of the SDC was to triple Sabah's per capita gross domestic product to RM14,800 during the 18-year period set for the plan.

The SDC is also expected to create 900,000 new jobs, reduce unemployment to 3.5 per cent and eradicate poverty.

Mohd Yaakib said agriculture and specific projects, including the Pulau Banggi High Impact Rural Development Programme that will see 4,000ha of land developed into rubber plantations by Felcra Bhd, will help eradicate poverty in rural areas.

"Other poverty eradication measures include encouraging the low-income group to participate in planting cash crops."

He also said oil palm would remain the leading agriculture crop and that integrated farming such as livestock breeding would be encouraged at plantations.

He said to lure investors, competitive incentive packages would be offered to promote the agriculture, services and manufacturing sectors in the state.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

T’ganu State Legislative Assembly: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE - Eradicate poverty, says regent

Pix: Tengku Sri Panglima Raja Tengku Baderulzaman Sultan Mahmud inspecting the guard of honour mounted by the Federal Reserve Unit’s 105-member Sixth Battalion at the opening of the state assembly yesterday.
KUALA TERENGGANU: The head of the Regency Advisory Council opened the state assembly yesterday with a call for the government to continue serving the best interest of the people.
"The government must improve the people's quality of life, help improve the living standards of those in the low-income bracket and eradicate hardcore poverty.

"It should also look at human capital development programmes and check the social economic imbalance between each district," said Tengku Sri Panglima Raja Tengku Baderulzaman Sultan Mahmud.

"Attention must also be given to create an innovative society, improve productivity levels and competitiveness in every sector."

He said the results of the recent general election delivered a clear message of the people's desire for change and transparency in the implementation of policies.

"Leaders and the government chosen by the people must fulfill their responsibility fairly and honestly."

Tengku Baderulzaman commented that the ongoing projects implemented under the state development master plan (2004-2008) were on the right track towards creating a sense of well-being and prosperity for the people.

However, he urged the government to diversify the economy, especially in the tourism, agriculture and services sectors to sustain economic growth.

He added that last year, the federal government had allocated RM7.2 billion for Terengganu under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, while the state allocated RM4.1 billion in the same period.
With such large allocations, he said, it was important for co-operation between the state and federal governments. This was to ensure the effectiveness of the agencies so that the funds spent benefited the rakyat.

Tengku Baderulzaman also said the government should focus on reducing poverty to a lower level from the 6.5 per cent last year and to completely eradicate hardcore poverty by 2010.
"I want the delivery, supervision and co-ordination of poverty eradication programmes among and between agencies to meet the objective."

However, he also urged the people to play their part in ensuring a bright future for the state. "The people must be instilled with the culture of giving and creating, not asking. The subsidy mentality must be removed," he added. "I also urge the people to revive the 'muhibah' spirit and respect one another irrespective of race. This has been our foundation for peace and development."

source: nstonline

Update May 8, 2008
TERENGGANU RESTORES SULTAN'S POWER TO APPOINT ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS OFFICERS KUALA TERENGGANU, May 8 (Bernama) -- The Terengganu State Legislative Assembly today unanimously approved the Islamic Religious Affairs Administration Enactment (Terengganu) (Amendment) 2008 Bill which hands back to the sultan the absolute power to select and appoint members of the Terengganu Islamic Affairs and Malay Customs Council. Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said said the jurisdiction to appoint members of the council had been with the menteri besar under the Islamic Religious Affairs Administration Enactment (Terengganu) 2001. "The amendment only hands back the power to the original authority, and I do not see any major implication arising out of this move. We are more at ease with the current scenario because we do not want any matter to be politicised," he said when approached after the adjournment of the assembly. Section 8 of the enactment had been amended to reflect that the council should comprise a president, a deputy president, a mufti and not more than 14 other members appointed by the sultan at his discretion. Section 11 had been amended to give absolute power to the sultan to revoke the appointment of any member of the council while Section 13 had been amended arising from the amendment to Section 8. -- BERNAMA ERE ERE MGN

5th Mihas: Bridging the Global Halal Market

5th Mihas
Bridging the Global Halal Market