Sunday, June 22, 2008

Motion against PM likely on Monday

PETALING JAYA: A no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi may materialise on Monday after all.
DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said the Government motion on price increases scheduled for Monday can be turned into a no-confidence motion, provided there were enough numbers to defeat it.
Lim, who is also Ipoh Timur MP, said it was not necessary to have a proper motion of no-confidence to create a “no-confidence” vote in Parliament on the Prime Minister and the Government.
He said he was informed that the motion, to be moved by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad, was the first item on the list after the 90-minute question time.
The motion is to seek support for the measures taken by the Government over price increases. – thestart

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Business leaders urge Asia to lead the way

source:text- AP via themalaysianinsider>
KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 — As an emerging centre of world power, Asia must take the lead in finding solutions to crises such as the surge in fuel and food prices because global institutions such as World Trade Organisation are proving to be impotent, business leaders said today.

The comments came at the annual World Economic Forum on East Asia, a high-profile gathering of business and government leaders, in Kuala Lumpur.As economic clout drifts away from the United States and Europe to Asia it must spearhead the resolution of economic crises, said Yashwant Sinha, India's former finance minister.
Global institutions that deal with economic problems are looking "pretty out of date", Barclays Plc chairman Marcus Agius told the forum's first session.
"I believe that the international institutions we have at the moment – including the World Trade Organisation – are woefully inadequate in dealing with the global challenges," said Sinha.
He gave the example of the crisis in the world stock markets stemming from the subprime mortage debacle in the United States.
Had the crisis occurred anywhere in Asia or Latin America, a "huge team" from the International Monetary Fund would have descended there with advice, just as it did during the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, Sinha said.
"There is a major regulatory failing in the US. What is the IMF doing about the US.? Nothing," said Sinha, also a former foreign minister.
"Global institutions are inadequate. They are not responding to global challenges," he said, highlighting record-high crude oil prices, which reached nearly US$140 (RM458) last week before settling at US$134.86 on Friday.
Rapid hikes in the price of rice and other agriculture products have also set off riots and protests from Africa to Asia and elevated fears of a global food crisis.
"I would say that this is where there is an opportunity for Asia. There are a whole host of things that Asian nations can do together. We must start writing the rules of the game," said Sinha, now a member of India's Parliament.
Asian countries must help each other in dealing with crises because the US can no longer be expected to be "the locomotive of the global economy", said Yoshimi Watanabe, Japan's minister of financial services and administrative reforms.
"The Asian countries are in the same boat, we share the same destiny," he said.
Asia, led by India and China, will define the global economy in the future, thanks to its insatiable demand for consumer goods, investment opportunities and rapidly growing economies, those attending the forum were told.
"The shift in the economy around the world has been dramatic," Lord Peter Levene, chairman of London-based Lloyd's, the world's biggest insurance market, told reporters before the start of the conference.
"If you're travelling in Europe and the United States, there's a feeling of doom and gloom. Here you step off the plane and it's the opposite. This is the right place to be at the moment," Levene said.
Still, Asian governments are confronted with a wide range of risks, Levene said, noting that China is spending immense time and expense to deal with natural disasters and other threats.
"Up to very recently, the (Asian) region was a follower in the global agenda. This is the first time the region is becoming a leader," said Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman of the Swiss food and drinks giant Nestle. — AP

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Council To Spearhead ECER Development, Says PM

KUALA TERENGGANU, June 14 (Bernama) -- The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) Development Council will spearhead implementation of the ECER master plan and play the main role in determining the direction, policy and strategy for its development.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, in stating this Saturday, said the council, set up under an Act of Parliament, would also generate and promote economic and social developments as well as private sector investments in the region.

"The setting up of the council, as an authority, is important to ensure that the ECER master plan is implemented in an efficient and orderly manner," he said at the launch of the council here Saturday.
"With this, the policies, planning and implementation by all parties can be streamlined in an organised and comprehensive way for the welfare of the local people," he added.

Abdullah said besides promoting economic activities in the ECER, the council would also study the impact of development programmes to ensure that socio-economic development was being carried out in tandem.

He also said that to ensure the success of the ECER, he has appointed members from the highest level for the council with himself taking on the responsibility of chairman.

Other members included Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said, Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman and Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, he said.
Abdullah said to strengthen the council, he has appointed Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Amirsham A. Aziz as representatives of the federal government.
Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan has also ben appointed to represent the civil service, he said.
The Prime Minister named Petronas' president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican and IOI Corp's executive chairman Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng as representatives of the private sector.

Abdullah said at the management and operations level, the council will be led by Datuk Jebasingam Issace John as the chief executive officer.
"He was involved in drawing up the ECER master plan and is supported by a team which is capable of carrying out the council's functions effectively," he said.

Abdullah said the council has a heavy responsibility to ensure that the ECER objectives are achieved.
"As the chairman, I will ensure that the council acts efficiently, effectively and impartially," he said.

On progress of the ECER so far, Abdullah said he was satisfied with the ECER secretariat for its efforts in developing several projects and programmes.

Among them is the setting of Centres of Excellence at five universities in the region, namely Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Universiti Darul Iman, Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Universiti Teknologi Mara and Universiti Malaysia Kelantan.
According to him, such centres are in line with the ECER objectives to encourage research and development, which can lead to related commercial industries coming up in the region.

On the agriculture sector, Abdullah said several initiatives had started to be implemented.
Among them is the development of three agro valleys in Bachok-Setiu-Kuala Berang, Pekan-Rompin-Mersing and Kuantan-Maran areas, a herbal and biotech park in Gua Musang, Kelantan, and a fruit park in Lanchang, Pahang.

He said for the petrochemical sector, development of the Kertih Plastic Park had started and results were shown with an initial investment of RM50 million for factory and infrastructure.

Abdullah said the government would continue to support the ECER by providing the optimum infrastructure.
He said the mid-term review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan would look into the allocations for the infrastructure development of the ECER as well as the other economic regions. -- BERNAMA

Cabinet Approves Ratification Of OIC Charter

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 (Bernama) -- Malaysia has ratified the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) new charter which, among others, aims to make the grouping more effective in implementing decisions, especially on problems faced by Muslim nations.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said Malaysia would present its decision at the 35th OIC Conference in Kampala, Uganda from June 17 to 18.

"Malaysia's ability to ratify the charter within a short time is appreciated by OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu," Rais said here Friday after presenting a cheque for a donation to Nargis cyclone victims in Myanmar.

Rais said the charter contained provisions to make the OIC more effective in humanitarian efforts as the biggest Islamic organisation in the world.

"The charter also contains a provision for the setting up of an Islamic Court of Justice," he disclosed.

The revised charter was approved at the 11th OIC Summit in March 2008 in Dakar, Senegal. It replaces the charter which was registered in 1974 in conformity with Article 102 of the United Nations Charter.

The OIC new charter will come into force when approved by a two-third majority of the Council of Foreign Ministers and ratified by two thirds of the 57 member states. -- bernama

Friday, June 13, 2008



Israel terus berdolak-dalik, tidak mengaku bertanggungjawab melakukan keganasan terhadap penduduk awam Palestin.

Dalam satu serangan udara oleh tentera Israel di perkampungan Beit Lahiya di utara Semenanjung Gaza yang dikuasai pergerakan Hamas, tiga orang awam terbunuh manakala 40yang lain cedera. Bangunan pula musnah.

pix: Penduduk Palestin mengangkat seorang budak lelaki yang cedera akibat ditimpa runtuhan bangunan untuk diberi rawatan apabila rumahnya musnah dalam serangan udara oleh tentera Israel.

Human Rights:Shelter => HOC - MAPEX 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Indonesia to examine Australian PM's Asia-Pacific plan

source: Agence France-Presse - 6/6/2008 6:53 AM GMTvia MSN Malaysia News
Indonesia is "really keen" to examine an ambitious plan by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to create a European Union-style grouping for the Asia-Pacific, an official said Friday.
Government officials in Australia's closest neighbour said they would discuss the proposal with Rudd when he makes his first prime ministerial visit to Jakarta to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono next week.
"We're following the issue with interest. We are really keen to study the issue further," foreign ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said.
"I suppose the visit of PM Rudd next week to Indonesia will be an occasion for us to have a clear reference of what exactly (is) the vision of his statement," Faizasyah said.
Yudhoyono spokesman Dino Patti Djalal confirmed Jakarta was looking closely at the proposal and would discuss it when the leaders meet during Rudd's June 12-14 visit.
"We are actively reading the idea proposed by the prime minister and we will look forward to hearing more about it when the president meets him in mid-June," he said.
Rudd said Thursday an Asia-Pacific Community including the massive economies of China, India, the United States and Japan could be established by 2020.
A fluent Mandarin speaker and ardent Sinophile, the Labor prime minister has made closer engagement with Asia a foreign policy priority since his election last November.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

'Help us restore faith in judiciary'

PUTRAJAYA: Government employees, especially those in agencies serving the judicial department, were urged yesterday to help the government rebuild and restore public confidence in the judiciary.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said this had increasingly become a crucial task given the people's negative perception of the judiciary.

The de facto Law Minister said the people had very high expectations of the country's public service, particularly the judiciary.

Employees, therefore, must regularly evaluate the services provided to their target groups, he said at the excellent service awards ceremony of the Legal Affairs Division, the Insolvency Department and the Legal Aid Bureau. - NST

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Petronas keen to drill for gas in Natuna block

source: nst (By Kamarul Yunus and Zaidi Isham Ismail
PETROLIAM Nasional Bhd (Petronas), which expects its investment in Santos Ltd's liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Gladstone in Queensland to start generating revenue by 2014, has expressed interest to drill for gas in Indonesia's Natuna S-Alpha offshore block.
"It is no secret that we are interested ... but it is too early (to say how much stake in the project that Petronas is eyeing)," said its president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican.
Petronas' interest in the Natuna block comes barely a month after it agreed to splash US$2.5 billion (RM8.2 billion) to buy 40 per cent stake in Santos' LNG project.
Speaking to newsmen after the opening of the 13th Asia Oil and Gas conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Hassan said investing in the Gladstone LNG project provides a fresh opportunity to invest in a relatively new field that uses coal seam gas (CGS) as a feedstock.
Citing cost factors, the Petronas chief said a decision has not been made on its investment in Iran, though it will defer plans to invest in a Sudan oil refinery.
Petronas, the world's third largest LNG producer, has a 10 per cent stake in Iran's PARS LNG project, which is led by French energy firm Total, while in Sudan it was supposed to build a 100,000-barrel per day oil refinery at Port Sudan.
On May 27, Reuters, citing Sudanese state oil firm Sudapet, reported the cost of the project had gone up to an estimated US$5 billion (RM16.3 billion), up from original estimates of between US$1 billion and US$2 billion (RM3.26 billion and RM6.52 billion).

Monday, June 9, 2008

Costs force Malaysia's Petronas to delay Sudan refinery

source: AfP via MSN Malaysia News
Malaysia's national oil firm Petronas said Monday it will delay development of a 150,000 barrels per day refinery in Sudan due to rising costs.
Petronas chief executive Hassan Merican said the refinery project at Port Sudan was being delayed because "we cannot justify the commercial viability of the project because of the high investment costs."
"The cost environment has gone up. We have deferred it for now," he said on the sidelines of the two-day Asia Oil and Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur, without giving further details.
Petronas acquired a 50 percent stake in the refinery project in 2005 through its unit Petronas International Corp Ltd. The remaining stake is held by Sudan's Ministry of Energy and Mining.
Under the tie-up, Petronas and its partner were to jointly invest in, develop and operate the export-oriented refinery at Sudan's only entry port.
The refinery is designed to process high acid crude from Blocks 3 and 7 of the Sudan Melut Basin, where Petronas already has a 40 percent interest, and had been expected to be operational by 2009.
Petronas also holds a 35 percent stake in an offshore oil and gas project in an area known as Block 15 in the Red Sea Basin in Sudan.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Championnat d'Europe des nations 2008

Daulat Tuanku!!

Daulat Tuanku!!
Salutations and Heartiest Congratulations
His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong XIII, Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah
His Beauty the Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tuanku Nur Zahirah
On The Occasion of His Majesty’s Official Birthday
On June 7, 2008M, 3 Jamadilakhir 1429H
May Allah the Almighty Bless His Royal Highness’ Reign

With Utmost Sincerity and Best Wishes From banghuris-ghutghut and associates

Friday, June 6, 2008

Fuel price hike may result in serious political fallout

Petrol, power price rise effects begin to kick in
PETALING JAYA: The effects of the increase in fuel price and electricity tariffs have started to kick in.
Just a day after the announcement of the increases, the following developments have taken place:
> Bus and lorry companies announced that they are increasing charges or will be forced to stop services;
> The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers said its members will pass on any increase in costs to consumers;
> Hawkers and other food operators will wait and see before raising prices; and
> The KLCI closed 29.56 points down, to 1223.56 points. Plantation and banking counters as well as PLUS were the most affected.

Not all was gloomy, however. Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat said he is looking at whether more reductions on road tax can be given.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

KEC Medina: Wanted - Malaysian partners

source: BusinessTimes By Azlan Abu Bakar
KNOWLEDGE Economic City Developers Co Ltd (KECD) is in talks with Malaysian companies to rope them in as partners and long-term investors for the US$8 billion (RM26 billion) Knowledge Economic City (KEC) development in Medina, Saudi Arabia.
Its chief executive officer Tahir Mohammed Bawazir said the company has identified several interested parties and hopes to conclude some deals soon.
"We plan to leverage on the expertise of Malaysian companies from various sectors and hope more will come in as partners and investors," he told Business Times in Kuala Lumpur.

Tahir said that as the project develops, KECD will continue to seek investors, partners and sub-developers as well as establish joint ventures with strategic partners to develop and operate key component areas.
Since its launch in 2006, KECD has signed memorandums of understanding and contracts with several Malaysian companies and the government.
They include Malaysian Multimedia Development Corp, HELP University College, Multimedia University and, the latest, iTopia Sdn Bhd.
Consultancy contracts have been awarded to MSC Technology Centre.
"The project is expected to bring about 10 billion Saudi riyal (RM9 billion) a year into the region once it is completed by 2020," Tahir said.
The KEC is one of four economic cities being developed in Saudi Arabia to boost regional development by focusing on intellectual property, knowledge-based, medical, hospitality, tourism and multimedia industries.
Other economic cities being developed by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority are the King Abdullah Economic City, Prince Abdul Aziz ibn Musaed Economic City and the Jizan Economic City.
The five million sq m KEC includes a theme park, educational institutions, integrated hospitality complex (with private medical centre, nursing and medical schools, senior assisted living community), residential, commercial and retail components.
"KEC Medina aims to utilise Saudi Arabia's second competitive advantage after energy - its strategic location as a link between East and West," Tahir said.
The project is expected to create more than 20,000 jobs and accommodation for about 150,000 people.

UN Chief Says Global Food Crisis Needs Quick Response

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday that dealing with the current global food crisis is a fight the international community cannot afford to lose. The U.N. chief is attending a world food security summit at the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. For VOA, Sabina Castelfranco reports.
The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to the international community to move ahead collectively and with a sense of urgency to combat world hunger and promote global good security.
"This is a fight we cannot afford to lose," Mr. Ban said. "The enemy is hunger. Hunger degrades everything we have been fighting for in recent years and decades. Recent riots and protests show that hunger and the threat of hunger breed unrest and instability. We are duty bound to act, to act now, and to act as one."
Ban Ki-Moon said $15 to $20 billion is needed each year to boost food production to combat hunger. He added that most of that money would have to come from concerned countries.
The U.N. chief is attending a world food security summit in Rome hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization. Over 4,000 representatives from more than 180 countries are attending the summit.
Delegates at the summit in Rome have been divided over the role bio-fuels is playing in driving up food prices to the point of provoking riots in some countries.
"I think that there is an urgent need to establish a greater degree of international consensus and agreed policy guidelines on bio-fuel production, which take full account of food security, income and energy needs at all levels of our countries," Mr. Ban said.
Meanwhile, the head of the U.N.'s World Food Program, Josette Sheeran, said an extra $1.2 billion in donated funds will provide food for 75 million people going hungry because of soaring food prices. Sheeran, who is also attending the Rome summit, said many people in poor countries simply cannot buy the food available in markets.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Perdana Menteri humban rakyat ke arah hidup lebih terdesak

sumber: harakahdaily
KOTA BHARU, 4 Jun (Hrkh) - Terima kasih rakyat Malaysia yang memberi kuasa kepada Barisan Nasional (BN) untuk bertakhta semula pada pilihan raya umum 8 Mac lalu. Hari ini BN membalas budi baik itu dengan menaikkan harga petrol sebanyak 41 peratus. Kerajaan telah menunaikan janjinya dan terimalah pengundi BN dengan dada terbuka.
Pengerusi Perhubungan KeADIlan Kelantan, Haji Abdul Aziz Kadir berkata, kerajaan BN benar-benar sudah membalas budi rakyat Malaysia dengan kenaikan bebanan hidup yang semakin mendesak sekarang. "Inilah hadiah istimewa kepada mereka yang mengundi BN pada pilihan raya umum lalu. Kerajaan membalas pengorbanan rakyat dengan menghumbankan mereka ke kancah kehidupan yang lebih teruk.
"Tidak pernah berlaku dalam sejarah tamadun Malaysia begitu teruk pengurusan negara di bawah Perdana Menteri yang hanya diselamatkan oleh wakil-wakil rakyat dari Sabah dan Sarawak pada pilihan raya umum lalu," katanya di sini.
Petang tadi Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi mengumumkan kenaikan harga petrol sebanyak 78 sen iaitu daripada RM1.92 kepada RM2.70. Ini bermakna kenaikan sebanyak 41 peratus. Manakala harga minyak diesel pula naik kepada RM2.58, naik RM1 berbanding harga sekarang sebanyak RM1.58 seliter. Kenaikan harga bahan api itu akan berkuatkuasa mulai tengah malam ini.
Sejak awal 2004, Abdullah sudah tujuh kali menaikkan harga petroleum dan ia ternyata berjaya mencecah rekod Perdana Menteri sebelum ini. Kenaikan harga itu merupakan sebahagian langkah kerajaan untuk mengawal subsidi bagi menampung kenaikan petrol, diesel dan gas, yang dijangka berjumlah RM56 bilion tahun ini.
Abdul Aziz yang juga anggota Parlimen Ketereh berkata, kerajaan BN cuba memujuk rakyat dengan membandingkan harga minyak dengan negara-negara lain di Asia Tenggara. "Kerajaan sebenarnya cuba memperbodohkan rakyat dengan statistik seperti itu, sedangkan negara terbabit bukan pengeluar minyak seperti Malaysia. "Lagi pun kos hidup rakyat di negara berkenaan seperti Thailand jauh lebih rendah berbanding di negara ini," ujarnya. Oleh itu beliau percaya masa untuk kejatuhan Perdana Menteri yang begitu lemah sudah tiba dan rakyat perlu bergerak seiring dengan Pakatan Rakyat bagi mengembalikan semula negara ke landasan yang betul.
Sementara itu, orang ramai mulai berpusu-pusu ke stesen-stesen minyak di sekitar bandar ini sebelum kenaikan 78 sen berkuatkuasa tengah malam ini. - mj/mks.

Sea water inundates parts of Indonesia's capital, say officials

JAKARTA (AFP) - - Sea water inundated parts of Indonesia's capital overnight, flooding homes in the north of the city with up to 70 centimetres (2.3 feet) of water, officials said Wednesday.
However, the waters, which poured into homes despite reinforced defences, were less severe than authorities expected, a North Jakarta public works official who identified himself as Eko told AFP.
The World Bank last week warned that the peak of an 18-year astronomical tide cycle would combine with storm surges to flood swathes of the capital, as well as shutting off the toll road to the city's international airport.
The airport road was untouched by the surging water and the early warning allowed the public works authority and residents to reinforce defences with makeshift sandbag and stone barriers, Eko said
"We had been anticipating the high tides and warned people in flood-prone areas in North Jakarta to prepare for the floods caused by the high tides," Eko said.
The peak of the flooding hit between 9.00 pm (1400 GMT) and 11.00 pm Tuesday and was 2.06 metres higher than the standard sea level at Jakarta's Fish Market measuring station, public works official Fakhrurrazi said.
Despite gloomy warnings last week, the World Bank revised its forecast on Monday, saying that a reduced storm surge would mean defences in most of the city could contain the flooding.
Jakarta, a coastal city of over 12 million which is sinking under its own weight, frequently experiences flooding from higher than average tides. Sea water floods in May closed off the road to the airport.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

World Bank warns tidal flood may engulf Jakarta today

source: AP via Yahoo! Malaysia News
JAKARTA, Indonesia (5/30/08) - The World Bank has warned that an exceptionally high tide could inundate the Indonesian capital next week (6/3/08 -ed.), forcing thousands of people to flee their homes and cutting off a major highway.
The situation _ exacerbated by global warming and the fact that Jakarta is sinking up to 2 inches (6 centimeters) a year _ could mean that the flooding will exceed last November's roof-high levels in the hardest-hit areas, said Hongjoo Hahm, the bank's infrastructure expert.
"This is just the beginning," Hahm said, as he pointed to homes reaching a mile (1.5 kilometers) inland that will likely be affected next Tuesday (6/3/08 -ed.) and Wednesday (6/4/08) -ed.) by the 18-year semiannual tide cycle. "It's getting worse and worse."
The 18-year high tide cycles occur when the sun and moon are in direct alignment and making their closest approach to the Earth. Other factors, such as global warming or El Nino and La Nina, have made the sea swells even larger in recent years, Hahm said.
The government should consider building a dike to protect Jakarta Bay, he said, "but that will cost billions of U.S. dollars."
Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago nation, is one of the world's largest contributors of carbon dioxide emissions, because of the rapid pace of deforestation. But experts say the country is also at risk of becoming one of the biggest victims of climate change.
Rising sea waters especially pose a threat to coastal cities like Jakarta, which has sunk at least 7 feet (2 meters) in the last three decades because of excessive ground water extraction, said Hahm.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Restoring Peace In Complex Emergencies: Give military bigger role in disaster relief ops, says Najib

SINGAPORE: The military has to be given greater role in carrying out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief as it has the capability and experience to handle such crisis situations. "It has to be recognised that military is a critical component in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief," Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak told an international security dialogue yesterday.
Najib, who is also the defence minister, said the recent natural disasters in Myanmar and China had proven the military's important role in humanitarian relief operations. The traditional relief mechanism, which incorporated the government, business and volunteer organisations that for years had been adequate to meet the needs for relief work were found to be inefficient and ineffective when dealing with crises involving an entire nation.

Speaking at a plenary session themed "Restoring Peace In Complex Emergencies" at the 7th IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies) Asia Security Summit - The Shangri-La Dialogue, Najib said challenges of such magnitude required for a more comprehensive and dynamic approach. He said the Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management should recognise the military role if it wanted to increase its capacity building to enable it to undertake assistance in a more effective manner.
Although there were diverging views on the military involvement, there was wider consensus among Asean countries that the armed forces indeed had a key role in the area. "This is in line with the secondary or peace time role of the military in support of the ideals of a security community,” said Najib, who is also Defence Minister, noting that the standby arrangement under the Asean Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response, which were still being finalised, would facilitate deployment of military and civilian components at short notice.
On the centre, Najib said he hoped it could provide the leadership for regional response as it would deal with multiple contributors and agencies, and coordinate its activities effectively and eliminate the risk of inappropriate use of funds and resources. The Deputy Prime Minister also emphasised on the need to share information as it was vital for bthe success of the complex emergency operations.
On restoring security in complex emergencies, Najib said he was of the view that such efforts should not be undertaken on the basis of a unilateral action and Iraq was a classic example in the case. He said it was of utmost importance to respect the sovereignty of the affected state to dispel fear of interference into the internal affairs of that particular state. “Therefore, upon restoring security, there should be graceful exit by the countries involved in the process,” Najib said.
He said peace building in a complex emergency must be based on trust and transparency and the mediator should not dictate terms and conditions in cases where there was a need for parties to negotiate settlements. “Instead, it was important to create a conducive environment for them to negotiate to ensure lasting peace,” he added.
Speaking at a media conference after the summit, Najib said the cyclone tragedy serves as an acid test for Asean’s capability in helping its members faced with a real crisis. He said it was important for Asean, as an association, to show the world it had come a long way and that in the Myanmar case it should be able to help the country.
He said Asean was willing to send more military personnel and logistics requirements such as helicopters and boats to help distribute foreign aid to the victims who remained cut off in the cyclone-stricken zones and were starving.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Shangri-La Dialogue: Stop treating Europe as junior partner, France tells Asia

SINGAPORE, June 1, 2008 (AFP) - Asia must stop treating Europe as a junior partner, French Defence Minister Herve Morin warned Sunday, in a call for both sides to step up cooperation on terrorism and other security issues.
Addressing a regional security forum, he said Southeast Asia in particular would in future hold a "major strategic stake" for Europe.
"During the 25 years to come, the centre of gravity of the world will move more and more toward Asia," Morin, whose country will take over the presidency of the European Union on July 1, told the conference in Singapore.
"We are no longer in an environment that was long ago described as 'benign neglect' by Europe about Asia by a Singaporean prime minister. Symmetrically, Asia should not consider Europe as a second-ranking partner."
Morin told the forum of defence ministers, military chiefs, diplomats and experts that Asia and Europe needed to have stronger intelligence-sharing on terrorism, notably about Al-Qaeda and its branches.
"There is never enough transparency and communication on these topics," he said, adding: "Countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is also a priority."
He called for cooperation against maritime piracy and offered France's help with averting any problems that may arise as Southeast Asia's submarine forces patrol shallow waters and narrow routes.
Morin also said governments must discuss how to better organise assets in case of another European humanitarian operation in Southeast Asia, following the cyclone in Myanmar and earthquake in southwest China.
European nations colonised much of Asia but the United States has been the pre-eminent military, political and economic power in the region since the end of World War II.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates assured the Singapore forum on Saturday that Washington's military engagement in Asia will remain strong regardless of the outcome of the upcoming US presidential elections

Human Rights:Food => END HUNGER - WALK THE WORLD 2008