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Monday, May 23, 2022

Help padi farmers grow crops five times in two years, govt told

 

Kedah menteri besar Sanusi Md Nor has called for federal government subsidies for padi farmers. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Kedah menteri besar Sanusi Md Nor has called for federal government intervention to help padi farmers, especially those in Kedah, to grow padi crops five times in two years.

He said bigger harvests would mean there would be no need for Malaysia to import rice, Berita Harian reported.

Sanusi said such federal assistance would help the country to cope with the global food supply shortage which is expected to last till 2025 and is contributing to a spike in food prices at all stages.

“Imported rice is expensive, therefore we need to prepare the (padi farming) infrastructure, and the federal government must provide subsidies to the padi farmers,” he said.

Sanusi’s call comes in the wake of the agriculture and food industries minister saying on May 19 that there is still a need to retain import permits for rice. Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had announced a day earlier that import permits for food would be abolished.

Kedah is Malaysia’s rice bowl, supplying as much as 40% of the country’s needs.

Most farmers practice double-cropping (two harvests a year) and the Muda Agricultural Development Authority said the current gross yield is about 5.3 tonnes per hectare.

Padi production for the second harvest of the 2021 season should reach 553,631 tonnes, about 30% more than the 2020 season, the agency said in April. - FMT

What took you so long, says Fomca over cartel probe

 

The government said earlier today that an investigation into claims of a chicken cartel would be completed next month.

PETALING JAYA: A consumer group has lambasted the government for taking its time before investigating claims about the existence of chicken cartels.

N Marimuthu, president of the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) questioned why the government had waited until a chicken shortage happened before investigating the allegations.

“The Malaysia Competition Commission was established to ensure the government had eyes and ears in place to prevent any cartels from functioning, yet it took a Cabinet meeting today for action to be taken,” he said.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said earlier today that the investigation into claims of a chicken cartel would be completed by June.

Marimuthu said the government should have had better foresight. It must not delay the investigations any longer than necessary.

Meanwhile, Mydin hypermarket managing director Ameer Ali Mydin labelled the allegations of cartels as “shocking”. He said the prime minister’s statement had all but confirmed the existence of cartels.

“There is no place for these groups in Malaysia,” he said. - FMT

AP lifted for wheat imports, says Ismail Sabri

 


PUTRAJAYA: The Approved Permit requirement to import wheat has been lifted.

This is the latest decision by the Cabinet in a move to ensure sufficient food supply in the country.

Last week, the government announced that AP was no longer needed to import foodstuff.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that at the Cabinet meeting on Monday (May 23), ministries have been directed to list down items where the need for APs could be abolished.

“This is to protect the interest of the people,” he said on Monday.

The Agriculture and Food Industries as well as the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs ministries have been ordered to monitor and inspect and take action against those violating the law.

Ismail Sabri said that the Attorney General was called to the meeting and had advised the Cabinet to use existing laws to take action against those who hide, hoard and sabotage the supply of chicken.

The Prime Minister said that the Cabinet had received several inputs on corn farming and the use of palm kernel cake as an alternative feed for chicken.

“State governments and GLCs will be roped to help with long-term planning and provide temporary occupation licence land,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said GLCs, government agencies and organisations would be encouraged to be involved in livestock farming and that the government was studying ways to assist them. - Star

Malaysia in a dilemma over GST

 

From Walter Sandosam

The nagging question currently is how the country is faring and will we be able to meet our debt obligations.

After the recent turn of events in Sri Lanka which has experienced an economic and financial meltdown resulting in the country having to resort to the IMF/World Bank for rescue funding, the word on many lips is whether Malaysia will share the same disastrous fate.

Some opinionated politicians who are completely out of depth on basic economics, Keynesian or otherwise, are crudely suggesting with misplaced and convoluted concern that this could be so in three or four decades.

The main rationale for this appears to be the current size of the national debt and forecasts premised on this. Debt, in isolation, is not a financial indicator to be unduly obsessed with.

The key is whether any debt raised is put to constructive use to expand the economy and ultimately increase the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country. This is a global indicator notwithstanding its limitations as a true reflection of the wealth of a nation.

It is only dangerous when it is misapplied on frivolous projects or to fund current expenditure, namely paying salaries and operating expenses, as was in the case of Greece years back. Nonetheless, prudent debt raising helps grow the economy.

On the flip side, the debts have to be serviced and eventually repaid, presumably from a larger economy that has been created through robust economic planning. This includes currently an 82% completion of the Pan-Borneo Highway, the opening of the Putrajaya line, the MRT2 and MRT3 projects and the East Coast Rail Line.

Basic knowledge of fiscal policy will enlighten that the government funds its expenses, both current expenditure (civil service/administration expenses) and development expenditure (infrastructure, schools and hospitals etc.) through the collection of various taxes.

An inefficient tax system in which the revenues collected are compromised to be at an amount which is below its best level has repercussions on total government expenditure. This includes the ability to both service and settle debt on a timely basis.

This is at the core of efficient public administration. The anathema to this is that politicians elected to government look to one-upmanship with disregard for the progressive future health of the nation.

Sri Lanka’s devastating carnage of the Tamil separatists and the political drama of two brothers are factors which had affected the country. Malaysia is on different terrain.

Herein lies the problem. An ecstatic electorate elected a government based on a manifesto which included the abolition of the hugely unpopular goods and services tax (GST). This has had far-reaching consequences.

It is this same cohort of opportunist politicians who now ask the rhetorical question, “Will it take three or four decades to be like Sri Lanka”? Is this stupidity or political gamesmanship in view of elections?

It doesn’t take a genius to appreciate that the wider the tax base, the larger the tax revenue which can be effectively deployed. An effective GST regime effectively nabs tax dodgers who have perfected the mode of tax avoidance through shrewd financial mechanics.

Malaysia had wisely adopted the GST though it was political suicide. The opposition exploited this; being elected to office on a litany of lies and half-truths buttressed on the dissatisfaction with GST.

Will an economy with a narrow tax base with over-reliance on fossil fuels and primary crop earnings be able to cope with strong global headwinds and continue to progress? The answer is obvious.

Hence our country finds itself now in the unenviable position on the possible re-introduction of GST. It appears that the politicians are caught between the “devil and the deep blue sea”.

So, before one hyperventilates on whether and when Malaysia may follow Sri Lanka, perhaps persons asking such questions should take a cold hard look in the mirror.

After all, they in their limited time of holding office are the ones who extolled and promoted populist policies, including the scrapping of GST, which may in time spell doom. This is where there is some similarity with Sri Lanka, namely on tax concessions. It is a harbinger of economic decline.

Malaysia’s leaders need to come to grips with this situation. We are far from being a failing state. - FMT

Walter Sandosam is an FMT reader

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

Rogol anak tiri, OKU dipenjara 15 tahun, 10 sebatan

 

Tertuduh berusia 27 tahun menukar pengakuan kepada bersalah di akhir kes pendakwaan hari ini. (Gambar AFP)

PETALING JAYA: Seorang lelaki orang kurang upaya (OKU) lembam dihukum penjara 15 tahun dan 10 sebatan oleh Mahkamah Sesyen Ayer Keroh, Melaka, hari ini, kerana merogol anak tirinya dua tahun lalu.

Hakim Maziah Joary Mohd Tajudin menjatuhkan hukuman itu selepas tertuduh menukar pengakuan kepada bersalah di akhir kes pendakwaan hari ini.

Terdahulu, selepas menimbangkan keterangan tujuh saksi dan hujah pihak pendakwaan, Maziah memutuskan ada kes prima facie dan memerintahkan tertuduh membela diri atas pertuduhan itu.

Bagaimanapun tertuduh berusia 27 tahun dan berasal dari sebuah kampung di Bukit Katil, memberitahu mahkamah dia ingin menukar pengakuan, lapor Harian Metro.

Mahkamah menetapkan hukuman penjara bermula dari tarikh tertuduh ditangkap pada 9 Mac 2020 serta menjalani kaunseling pemulihan serta dua tahun pengawasan polis selepas selesai hukuman mengikut peruntukan Seksyen 26(1) dan Seksyen 27 Akta Kesalahan-Kesalahan Seksual Terhadap Kanak-Kanak 2017.

Mengikut pertuduhan, bapa kepada tiga anak itu didakwa merogol anak tirinya berusia 14 tahun enam bulan di dalam bilik di sebuah rumah di Bukit Katil pada 19 Feb 2020, jam 2 pagi.

Bagi kesalahan itu, tertuduh didakwa mengikut Seksyen 376 (3) Kanun Keseksaan, memperuntukkan hukuman penjara minimum lapan tahun dan maksimum 30 tahun serta sebat tidak kurang 10 sebatan, jika sabit kesalahan.

Terdahulu, Timbalan Pendakwa Raya, Muhammad Nazrin Ali Rahim berhujah supaya hukuman setimpal dikenakan terhadap tertuduh mengambil kira keseriusan kesalahan dilakukannya iaitu merogol anak tiri.

“Tertuduh juga hanya mengaku bersalah selepas perbicaraan (bermula 5 April 2021) yang mana di akhir kes pendakwaan hari ini dia diperintah membela diri selepas kes prima facie dibuktikan,” katanya.

Peguam Yayasan Bantuan Guaman Kebangsaan, Chia Cheng Wee ketika merayu hukuman ringan memohon mahkamah menimbangkan tertuduh seorang OKU lembam yang hanya bekerja kampung dan menanggung isteri yang juga pesakit psikiatri dan tiga anak termasuk dua anak tiri. - FMT

Malaysia masih tunggu rayuan kuota haji tambahan

 

Arab Saudi menetapkan kuota haji seramai sejuta jemaah bagi musim 2022 dengan 85% diperuntukkan kepada jemaah luar negara dan Malaysia diberi kuota 14,306 iaitu 45%. (Gambar AP)

BANGI: Malaysia masih menunggu keputusan kerajaan Arab Saudi berhubung rayuan negara ini untuk diberi kuota tambahan 5,000 jemaah bagi menunaikan haji musim 2022, kata Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri (Hal Ehwal Agama), Idris Ahmad.

“Setakat ini belum ada jawapan lagi. Kita doalah moga Allah permudahkan,” katanya kepada media selepas menghadiri majlis sambutan Hari Raya Aidilfitri bersama ketua pegawai eksekutif syarikat korporat Malaysia dan wakil tetap Sekretariat Dakwah Korporat (SDK) Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim), di sini hari ini.

Pada 16 Mei lalu, Idris dilapor berkata, pihaknya telah mengemukakan rayuan itu semasa menghadiri Persidangan Majlis Komuniti Islam Sedunia di Abu Dhabi.

Arab Saudi menetapkan kuota haji seramai satu juta jemaah bagi musim 2022 dengan 85% diperuntukkan kepada jemaah luar negara dan Malaysia pada musim ini diberi kuota 14,306 iaitu 45% daripada kuota tahunan yang biasa diterima dan peratusan sama terpakai kepada semua negara.

Penerbangan pertama jemaah haji Malaysia ke Makkah dijadualkan pada 31 Mei ini.

Ditanya mengenai surat tawaran bagi kumpulan kedua jemaah haji musim 2022, Idris berkata, Lembaga Tabung Haji sudah mengeluarkan surat tawaran itu pada 10 Mei lalu dan mereka yang menerima surat itu diberi masa 10 hari untuk memberikan jawapan.

Beliau berkata, setakat ini, pihaknya tidak mendapat maklumat berapa ramai yang sudah memberikan jawapan untuk menerima tawaran haji itu.

Dalam perkembangan lain, Idris berkata, sehingga hari ini, Jakim belum dihubungi individu bukan rakyat Malaysia yang mendedahkan berlaku pelanggaran prosedur operasi standard (SOP) keselamatan makanan, kebersihan dan piawaian halal di sebuah loji penyembelihan di Australia.

“Siasatan sedang berjalan, kita sedang mencari banyak lagi bukti. Kalau ada maklumat loji lain silakan, dan kita akan ambil tindakan,” katanya.

Sementara itu, semasa berucap pada majlis hari ini, Idris berkata, pendekatan dakwah pada masa kini mestilah ringkas, padat, berfakta dan interaktif, seiring dengan peredaran zaman.

Katanya, badan dakwah mesti mengadaptasi suasana semasa termasuk dalam kerja-kerja dakwah manakala uslub (cara) dakwah mesti sentiasa segar, interaktif dan relevan kerana adakalanya pendekatan lima tahun lepas sudah tidak relevan dengan konteks dakwah hari ini. - FMT

Proposals for new highways in Klang Valley approved, says works minister

 

Fadillah Yusof says even with the new highways, there is no guarantee congestion will reduce, given the increase in the number of vehicles on the road. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has approved proposals from the private sector for the construction of new highways, including around the Klang Valley, works minister Fadillah Yusof said today.

He said they were among several proposals that the government had received for the construction of highways to address the problem of traffic congestion.

He added that the other proposals are still under consideration.

“We will continue to look into the other proposals and hope the private sector will comply with the set requirements and conditions once approval has been granted.

“With these new highways, we hope the connectivity within the Klang Valley and with the rest of the country will improve,” he told reporters at the works ministry’s Hari Raya celebration today.

However, Fadillah said there was no guarantee that these new highways would alleviate the traffic congestion due to the increasing number of vehicles on the road.

“The government continues to invest in public transport, such as the MRT and LRT, to ensure alternatives are available to the people.

“If 60% of the people use the roads while 40% use public transport, it can offset the increase in vehicle numbers and potentially reduce traffic congestion,” he said.

According to Fadillah, any new highway would also have to follow a development plan based on a five-year study. - FMT