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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Bumiputera status: To be or not to be

How do we reconcile the proposal for Indian Muslims to be recognised as Bumiputera with the justification for the original creation of Bumiputera status?
COMMENT
Murugesan-Sinnandavar-malaysianBy Murugesan Sinnandavar
My initial reaction when I read the news report on the prime minister’s remark that the government will study in depth the request from the Indian Muslim community to be recognised as Bumiputera was to ignore it.
As someone who was in politics, I know sometimes requests will be made to a politician at a function and the safest way to deal with it is to say “I will consider it”. That way, you won’t offend anyone and it will give you time to think about the request. It’s a safe answer for a politician.
At the practical level, granting Bumiputera status to Indian Muslims will have very little impact on the country as whole as they are a minority within a minority.
However, at the principle level, I have trouble reconciling the proposal with the justification for the original creation of Bumiputera status.
This article is written purely for the purposes of discussing the principles involved and not to offend anyone, least of all the Malaysian Indian Muslim community. They are hardworking, disciplined and united as a community. Some of the best scholars of the Tamil language come from this community and I have great respect for them.
This article is also not a debate on the benefits and disadvantages of affirmative action which is known as the New Economic Policy (NEP) in Malaysia, or the existence of the Bumiputera status itself.
Who is a Bumiputera?
The term “Bumiputera” is a Sanskrit word which was later absorbed into Malay and can be literally translated as “son of the land” or “son of the soil”.
The term “Bumiputera” cannot be found in our constitution. The closest we come to it is in Article 153 where reference is made to “Malays” and “natives”.
Article 153:
“(1) It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article.”
The term “Bumiputera” was first introduced by the father of our prime minister, Abdul Razak, when he formulated the NEP. The NEP recognised the “special position” of the Malays provided in the Constitution of Malaysia, in particular Article 153.
In the “Buku Panduan Kemasukan ke Institusi Pengajian Tinggi Awam, Program Pengajian Lepasan SPM/Setaraf Sesi Akademik 2007/2008” (Guidebook for entry into public higher learning institutions for SPM/equivalent graduates for academic year 2007/2008), the higher education ministry defined “bumiputera” as follows, depending on the region of origin of the individual applicant:
Peninsular Malaysia
“If one of the parents is Muslim Malay/Orang Asli as stated in Article 160 (2) Federal Constitution of Malaysia; thus the child is considered as a Bumiputera.”
Sabah
“If the child was born in Sabah or the father was domiciled in Sabah at the time of birth, and one of the parents is an indigenous native of Sabah as stated in Article 161A (6)(b) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia; thus his child is considered as a Bumiputera.”
Sarawak
“If both of the parents are indigenous natives of Sarawak as stated in Article 161A (6)(a) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia; thus their child is considered as a Bumiputera.”
The above definitions more or less reflect what most of us commonly understand as Bumiputera. In a nutshell, it grants Bumiputera status to indigenous people or children of either parent who is indigenous. There is no mention of religion here.
It is apparent that Indian Muslims don’t qualify under any one of the above categories.
There are other minorities such as Peranakan and the Portuguese-Eurasian community in Melaka which are also considered Bumiputeras. Most of these constitute communities that were established prior to the arrival of the British colonialists.
The question is, under which category is the government to consider granting Bumiputera status to Indian Muslims?
Is it because they originated from India? Obviously not! If that’s the case, then all Malaysian Indians will be considered Bumiputeras, leaving the Chinese to fend for themselves.
Is it because they are Muslims? Now this gets a little more complicated.
Bumiputera status is not granted based on religion. If it was, it would run foul of Article 8 of our constitution which states that all Malaysian citizens shall be equal under the law, and “except as expressly authorised by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth”.
If an Indian Muslim is granted Bumiputera status because he is a Muslim, then the question arises on the status of a Hindu or Christian Indian who converts to Islam. What happens to him and his children? If that’s the case, won’t this then be seen as an inducement towards conversion to Islam?
What about Chinese Muslims, then? Don’t they deserve equal treatment as the Indian Muslims?
Should the Indian Muslims be granted Bumiputera status because they are disadvantaged socio-economically? This too can’t be the case. If it was, then the Malaysian Indian community as a whole deserves Bumiputera status.
I don’t have any statistics to support this, but any Malaysian observer will tell you that the average Indian Muslim is better off economically then the average Malaysian Indian.
Its noteworthy that the Melaka Chittys, who have been in this country for more then 500 years, have still yet to be granted Bumiputera status. They speak only Malay and have forgotten to speak even their mother tongue, Tamil. They are a very small group and are struggling socio-economically. What about them?
These are some of the square pegs that don’t fit into the round holes.
It is therefore good that the prime minister has given us the assurance that the government will study the request first. Whatever the final decision, it must be based on merit and be fair to everyone. It must not be due to political pressure. After all, we are all citizens of this country and love this country.
As I stated at the beginning of this article, the practical implication in terms of the economic pie of the nation might be small, but the message of such a decision will be loud and clear to all Malaysians. Think about it.
Murugesan Sinnandavar is former MIC secretary-general. -FMT

Will China investments improve Malaysia’s economy?

A research house says the large Chinese investments raise questions that will have an impact on the gross domestic product and the value of the ringgit.
malaysia-china2_1KUALA LUMPUR: China is investing heavily in Malaysia, and the government continues to woo Chinese firms.
According to Citi Research these large investments have significant implications for the growth of the economy and the ringgit.
There is a suggestion that the impact may not be as good as appears on paper.
It said: “Overall, foreign direct investment from China may understate the extent of Chinese involvement in the Malaysian economy, but overstate the impact on GDP growth or ringgit demand.”
The Edge quoted it as saying that the announced railway and port projects with Chinese interest could make up between 24% and 32% of Malaysia’s 2016 nominal gross domestic product, spread out over the next 10 to 20 years.
Chinese FDI inflows remained on course to meet or exceed the 2016 figure of RM18.7 billion, The Edge quoted Citi Research as saying.
It said, however, that these large investments raised many questions.
“First, there are concerns that these projects are motivated more by geopolitical than commercial considerations, especially given concerns of existing overcapacity in Malaysian ports.
“In particular, Chinese interest in the ports along the west coast of the peninsula stems from China’s desire to secure access to the Straits of Malacca. The East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) and the recently proposed trans-peninsular oil pipeline would serve as the land bridge between these ports facing the South China Sea.”
It said the mode of Chinese involvement was not completely clear.
“Major government-led projects would be funded primarily by loans from Chinese state-owned banks rather than greenfield FDI, which could lead to a further rise in contingent liabilities for the Malaysian government.”
Chinese involvement, it said, could also come via construction contracts to Chinese state-owned enterprises.
Citi Research said there were also questions over the spillover to Malaysia’s GDP, “given concerns that the materials, companies and even labour involved in the projects will be Chinese”.
It added: “Data from the American Enterprise Institute’s China Global Investment Tracker shows US$14.6 billion worth of investments between 2013 and 2016, but less than half of these — US$6.6 billion — were greenfield investments, with the rest mainly merger and acquisition transactions, which merely represent a transfer of ownership, rather than the addition to GDP growth, but will still be represented as FDI inflows (and support ringgit demand).
“Even with greenfield FDI, the impact on growth will depend on the extent of leakages due to imports of capital goods and labour.”
It noted that at US$12.6 billion, construction contracts awarded to Chinese firms during the same period were almost twice as large as greenfield investments, and comparable in size with the total investments in the same period.
“All else equal, such contracts represent service imports. The gross impact of such contracts is to subtract from headline GDP growth and ringgit demand.”
Net impact on ringgit demand, it said, would depend on the funding mechanism. - FMT

Another Tongkat Ali coffee product recalled in the US

Bestherbs Coffee is voluntarily recalling its product due to undeclared ingredients including desmethyl carbodenafil, which is structurally similar to the active ingredient in Viagra.
Kopi-Jantan-TradisionalPETALING JAYA: A company in Texas is recalling its “New of Kopi Jantan Tradisional Natural Herbs Coffee” after the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voiced concern over the presence of Tongkat Ali in the ingredients.
The Washington Post reported that Bestherbs Coffee was voluntarily recalling all batches sold between July 2014 and June 2016 due to undeclared ingredients including desmethyl carbodenafil, which is structurally similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra.
Although Viagra is an FDA-approved prescription drug used to treat erectile dysfunction, the agency said it was concerned over the potential of desmethyl carbodenafil to lower blood pressure to “dangerous levels”.
In a statement carried by the daily, it also expressed worry over interaction with the substance and nitrates found in prescription drugs like nitroglycerin.
“Men with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease often take nitrates,” the FDA was reported as saying.
Bestherbs Coffee owner Albert Yee told the Washington Post he expected to receive anywhere between a few hundred to a thousand bags from customers after the recall which began last week.
According to the report, however, both Yee and the FDA said there have been no consumer health issues related to the coffee.
This is not the first time that coffee products containing Tongkat Ali have been recalled.
In May, instant coffee distributer Caverflo.com voluntarily recalled its “natural herbal coffee” which purportedly contained Tongkat Ali extract following the reported death of one of its consumers.
The FDA said then that Caverflo.com was recalling all lots of its Caverflo Natural Herbal Coffee packaged in 25-gramme foil packs.
This followed FDA laboratory analysis that confirmed the presence of sildenafil and tadalafil in the products. - FMT

Yet another factory closes, 237 out of jobs

Announcement that Tien Wah Press Holdings is closing its printing plant in Malaysia follows reports that Seagate and Western Digital are relocating to Thailand.
Tien-Wah-PressKUALA LUMPUR: Tien Wah Press Holdings Bhd plans to close its 57-year-old printing business in Petaling Jaya under its wholly-owned subsidiary Tien Wah Press (Malaya) Sdn Bhd (TWPM).
It told Bursa Malaysia in a filing that this followed the closure of the Petaling Jaya factory of its major customer, British American Tobacco Group.
Tien Wah will now shift printing done here to its factories in Vietnam and Indonesia. The company said 237 employees would be made redundant.
News of this latest closure comes on the heels of the planned closure of two major factories in Penang.
It was reported on July 15 that hard disk maker Seagate Technology Plc and computer data storage firm Western Digital Corp (WD) planned to relocate the bulk of their operations to Thailand.
Seagate is expected to close its plants in Penang and Negri Sembilan, affecting more than 3,000 Malaysian staff. WD is expected to lay off 400 Malaysian staff and 800 foreign workers from its Penang manufacturing site.
Tien Wah told Bursa Malaysia: “Following the cessation of its major customer’s operation in Malaysia and [its] subsequent shifts in production facilities to Singapore, Korea and Indonesia, the group acknowledged that there is no requirement for duplication of a printing base in Malaysia.
“Hence, [the group] had initiated transfers of its majority production volumes from TWPM to Vietnam and Indonesia to improve its strategic position to service the customer and reduce the group’s operating cost over the longer term.
“The board is of the view that the re-organisation of its production footprint which involves the cessation of TWPM’s printing business is therefore timely.”
TWPM constitutes about 13.6% of Tien Wah’s latest audited net assets of the group as at Dec 31, 2016.
TWPM specialises in printing cigarette cartons and consumer goods packaging, cartons, labels packaging and advertising materials.
In March last year, British American Tobacco announced it would close its factory by the second half of this year following a difficult business environment. It said it would lay off 230 workers. -FMT

Is China in ‘investment’ mode or ‘loan’ mode?

It is probably true that China lends to us generously but the loan is tied to China being in charge of implementation.
COMMENT
malaysia_china_economie_600By TK Chua
The second finance minister, when responding to CIMB Group Holdings Bhd chairman Nazir Razak’s comment to be cautious of investments from China, said China is the only major economy in “investment mode” now.
He sees no other country doing the same thing as China, implying that Malaysia has no choice but to rely on China.
I think the response by the second finance minister was too simplistic and sweeping.
For any investment, including infrastructure investment, viability is the key. We do not invest simply because loans are readily available. We do not invest simply because our revenue projection is good and we are able to pay back the loans when due, what more as Malaysia is not in the best financial position right now.
We invest when a project is viable and feasible. Feasibility studies will ensure that both costs and benefits are properly and meticulously worked out.
How did we work out that the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is going to cost RM55 billion? How did we work out that the potential benefits, including nebulous social benefits, are worth more than that? Did we have international tender and bidding on this project?
China may be in “investment mode” (although I am not quite sure what exactly this term means), but did China “invest” or “lend” us the money for the project? As a qualified accountant, I am sure the second finance minister knows the difference between project ownership and risk burden.
It is probably true that China lends to us generously but the loan is tied to China being in charge of implementation. Hence, what employment and multiplier effects are we talking about here when we have Chinese engineers, technicians and managers on the higher end and Bangladeshi workers at the lower end? Yes, Malaysians will probably get some “benefits” by selling sand, granite, food and drink to them.
Loans are not investments. Ultimately, loans must be repaid, regardless of the feasibility. If loans are wasted, misused or squandered in nonviable projects, creditors still expect repayment. China will expect repayment, whether or not the ECRL is a white elephant.
TK Chua is an FMT reader

Prudential, Great Eastern to sell stakes, offer IPOs to Malaysians

The stakes sale to locals, which Bank Negara wants done by the end of June 2018, is expected to raise RM8.6 billion.
Prudential,-Great-EasternKUALA LUMPUR: Overseas insurers, including Prudential Plc, are pursuing plans to sell stakes in their Malaysian units, in deals that could raise at least a combined US$2 billion (RM8.6 billion) and help them comply with foreign ownership limits, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Prudential has asked banks to pitch for a role advising on a domestic initial public offering (IPO) of its Malaysian unit, an option it is considering alongside a potential stake sale to an investor, according to the people.
Singapore’s Great Eastern Holdings Ltd is also exploring cutting its local holding to 70% through a sale or IPO, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are private.
A sale of a 30% stake in Great Eastern Life Assurance (Malaysia) Bhd could raise about RM5 billion (US$1.2 billion), while the disposal of a similar stake in Prudential Malaysia Assurance Bhd would fetch at least RM3 billion, the people said.
Japan’s Tokio Marine Holdings Inc has appointed a bank to advise on options for cutting its stake in its local unit, which could raise around RM1 billion.
Foreign insurers have until the end of June 2018 to reduce their holdings in local firms to 70% at most, one person said.
The country’s central bank has been weighing tougher enforcement of a cap on foreign ownership as it seeks to boost local participation in the industry, people familiar with the matter said in April.
Representatives of Great Eastern and Prudential declined to comment, while a representative of Tokio Marine didn’t immediately answer emailed questions.
The central bank will continue to engage with the insurers on their plans, Bank Negara Malaysia said in a statement, declining to comment further.
Any companies that opt to pursue IPOs would join Manulife Holdings Bhd and Allianz Malaysia Bhd, the only local insurers with majority foreign ownership that are traded on the Kuala Lumpur exchange.
The deals would help extend a rebound in Malaysian first-time share sales, which have raised US$1.7 billion (RM7.3 billion) this year, up from US$255 million (RM1.1 billion) during the same period in 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. -FMT

Postpone tourism tax to next year, says Sarawak CM

Abang Johari Openg says this is because many local tour agents and hotels have already made and paid forward bookings for their packages for early next year.
Abang-Johari-OpengPETALING JAYA: Sarawak wants the federal government to postpone the implementation of the tourism tax until next year.
In a Borneo Post report, Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg said this was because many local tour agents and hotels have already made and paid forward bookings for their packages for early next year.
“Give us time till early next year. Then we can implement the tourism tax,” he was quoted as saying at a Hari Raya gathering in Samarahan on Wednesday.
The tourism tax was originally scheduled to come into effect on July 1. However, it was postponed after opposition by tourism industry players as well as the Sarawak and Sabah state governments.
In a report in Sin Chew Daily, Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz said the implementation of the tourism tax had been postponed to Aug 1 as some systems were not yet in place.
The tourism tax will see local and international tourists having to pay a levy to operators of registered accommodation premises.
The tax per room per night for non-rated hotels will be RM2.50, while the tax for two-star hotels will be RM5; three-star, RM10; four-star, RM15; and five-star, RM20.
Malaysians will be exempted from paying the tourism tax when they stay in hotels rated three stars and below.
Abang Johari added that the collection from the tax must be fairly distributed to Sarawak.
This was in line with what Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah had said in June.
Karim said then that the state government had no choice but to accept the implementation of the tourism tax as it had been passed in Parliament.
“We want our share from the tourism tax collection to go straight to the state government and not be channelled through other agencies or any other means,” he added. -FMT

Jamal Yunos, ‘Wan Azizah’ naik MRT untuk ke Penjara Sungai Buloh

Ia selepas pembukaan laluan ke-2 MRT dikaitkan dengan Anwar Ibrahim dan keluarganya.
4SUNGAI BULOH: Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos sekali lagi tampil dengan gimik terbaharu, kali ini membawa “mock-up” Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail menaiki MRT ke Sungai Buloh kononnya untuk menziarahi suami presiden PKR itu, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim di Penjara Sungai Buloh.
Jamal-Yunos3“Tq PM kerana menyediakan perkhidmatan MRT dari Kajang ke Sungai Buloh. Mudah la Kak Wan menziarahi suami Kak Wan di Sungai Buloh,” menurut tertera di “mock up” itu.
Susulan perasmian fasa ke-2 laluan MRT Kajang-Sungai Buloh Isnin lalu, anak sulung Anwar, Nurul Izzah Anwar, secara berseloroh memuat naik ucapan terima kasih kepada perdana menteri kerana memendekkan perjalanan menziarahi ayahnya di Penjara Sungai Buloh.
Nurul dipercayai menjawab kiriman Twitter Datuk Seri Najib Razak sehari sebelumnya.
“Bermula esok, perjalanan untuk melawat kenalan di Sungai Buloh dari Kajang akan menjadi lebih mudah dan selesa! #JomNaikMRT,” katanya.
Wan Azizah merupakan Adun Kajang, manakala Anwar kini menjalani hukuman penjara 5 tahun di Penjara Sungai Buloh.
Jamal-Yunos2
Jamal, yang juga ketua Umno Sungai Besar, hari ini tiba Stesen MRT Kajang kira-kira jam 10.45 pagi, lengkap berbaju Melayu. Beliau dan penyokongnya sampai di Stesen Sungai Buloh sejam kemudian.
“Jom kita pergi melawat suami tercinta di rumah Sungai Buloh ye,” kata salah seorang penyokong. -FMT

Apandi unveils new guideline on use of firearms for enforcers



The Attorney-General's Chamber today unveiled a guideline on the use of firearms by armed officers on duties from enforcement agencies.
Dubbed "Firearms Usage Guideline (On-duty) 2017", the new guideline was launched by attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali after eight months of preparation.
Apandi said the new guideline would complement the guidelines of those agencies which already have their own guidelines.
"The (new) guideline will complement these existing guidelines (or standard operating procedure). For those (agencies) which do not have one, this (new one) will be their only (guideline)," he said.
In his speech, Apandi said the move to draft the guideline was initiated after a senior customs officer in Kelantan was killed when she was ramped by a four-wheel vehicle driven by a "tonto" last October.
"It struck me that one of the causes of the incident was the lack of exposure and knowledge on the use of firearms among enforcers on duty," he said.
Apandi, who had visited the deceased's family in Kelantan, said he had asked the State Customs Department for a copy of written procedure on firearms.

He then found out that the relevant document on firearms only stated how the firearms are to be kept.
"The document only emphasised the way to keep the gun to prevent violation of the Firearms Act. There is no mention at all on its use on the ground," he said.
The police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Customs Department, Home Ministry, Prison Department were among the 11 enforcement agencies which received the booklets on the new guideline from Apandi.
The copy of guideline, however, was not available to the media.
[More to follow]
-Mkini

Dr M: 1MDB scandal even led Kit Siang to quote Quran



Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad last night expressed his amazement at how the 1MDB scandal had even prompted a DAP leader to quote the Quran.
The Pakatan Harapan chairperson said Lim Kit Siang, Gelang Patah MP, quoted verses from the holy book when attorney-attorney Mohamed Apandi Ali chided him (Mahathir) for criticising the latter’s inaction against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
“I was shocked to hear Kit Siang quote the Quran after Apandi said he only feared God when discharging his duties,” Mahathir said during his 20-minute speech at Bersatu’s aidilfitri open house in Penang last night.
“This seems to be the best kind of dakwah (preaching) and we do not need to dakwah to Kit Siang. He has shown that just because of politics and Apandi ... he (Kit Siang) can read the Quran,” he said tongue-in-cheek, with much laughter from the 2,000 strong crowd who attended the dinner at the Long Say building, on Jalan Burma.
In attendance at full force were DAP and PKR leaders including Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, state PKR chairperson Mansor Othman, state Parti Amanah Negara chief Mujahid Yusof Rawa and state Bersatu chief Marzuki Yahaya.
On July 18, Apandi had chided Mahathir for being “childish” for daring him to swear on the Quran in a mosque if had truly found Najib to be free of wrong-doing related to the 1MDB fiasco.
This prompted Kit Siang to cite two verses from Surah al-Baqarah on what is right and wrong, while the other concerned the act of mischief on earth.
Apandi had dismissed Mahathir's accusation of concealing evidence of wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal, adding "I don't fear Mahathir, and have nothing to hide".
Meanwhile, Mahathir ih his speech continued to challenge Apandi, saying: "He may only fear God, not human being but God knows he is lying”.
“The other one who knows he (Apandi) is lying is Bersatu’s president Muhyiddin Yassin,” Mahathir pointed to the man, clad in bright red baju Melayu sitting at the main table with Kit Siang and Guan Eng.
“Muhyiddin also knows Najib is lying as he was the former DPM. Since he was in the post, he was privy to a criminal report filed by the former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail on Najib’s wrongdoing," Mahathir alleged.
“We can lie to people or to ourselves, but we cannot lie to God.” 
In January last year, Apandi exonerated Najib in the RM2.6 billion donation and SRC International issues.
He also dismissed claims by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) that 1MDB funds had been misappropriated.

While Apandi said the RM2.6 billion donation Najib received in his personal accounts came from a member of the Saudi royal family, the DOJ, however, disputed this.
The DOJ, in its civil forfeiture lawsuits involving 1MDB, claimed that the money had originated from 1MDB.
Najib has consistently denied misusing public funds for personal gain and said that such claims were attempts to topple the government. - Mkini

MACC did not contact Penang to sign pledge, says CM



Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today denied that the Penang DAP-led government had refused to sign the corruption-free pledge (IBR).
Instead, he said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had never contacted the state government to do so.
"However if they were to approach us, we will say that the IBR is not just about signing the pledge, but it must be followed by concrete actions to eliminate corruption," he said at a Penang Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) Aidilfitri gathering in George Town last night.
Last Saturday, MACC chief commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad was quoted as saying that the MACC was disappointed with the Penang government's refusal to sign the IBR to show commitment to fighting against the country's number one enemy.
Bernama

Guan Eng: Penang will sign MACC's corruption-free pledge if...



The Penang government will sign the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) Corruption-Free Pledge (IBR) if 10 of its recommendations on graft are included, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. 
"These recommendations have already been used by the Penang government, which is considered a clean government in Malaysia," Lim said in his speech during a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) Hari Raya do in the state last night. 
He denied his government has refused to sign the pledge, saying the MACC has not approached them to do so instead. 
According to Lim, he is willing to discuss the matter with MACC so that "the pledge will not remain just a pledge" and to ensure it includes concrete actions to combat corruption. 
The 10 suggestions put up by Lim, include putting in practice the state government’s principles of CAT (competent, accountable and transparent) and institutionalising the public declaration of assets by the chief minister and state executive council members.
Others are implementing a competitive open tender system, prohibiting family members from obtaining state government contracts, rejecting the application to acquire state land by assemblypersons and government administrators.
Lim said the MACC pledge must also include protection for genuine whistle blowers, a provision to take action against government leaders who live in luxury beyond their means, and transparency in political contribution.

“Government officers must not receive personal donations, and action should be taken on the officers who flout the 10 pledges,” said the DAP secretary-general.
On July 15, MACC Chief Commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad had said that all but three opposition-governed states (Penang, Selangor and Kelantan) have signed the IBR, and MACC cannot "force" DAP-led Penang to sign it. 
Dzulkifli had also indicated that the latter two states have indicated their readiness to sign the pledge, and that "a lot of corruption-related reports have been lodged in Penang." - FMT

Hero's welcome for Mahathir in Penang



Fireworks lit the sky and loud cheers greeted Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia's chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad when he arrived at the party's Aidilfitri open house in Penang last night.
The crowd, mostly clad in red, Bersatu’s party colour, jostled and pushed one another to shake his hands and wish him “Selamat Hari Raya”.
It was quite a rare sight to see Malay Muslims clad in baju Melaju, tudung and baju kurung packed inside the Long Say building owned by the Lee Kongsi, a Chinese clan association on Jalan Burma.
But more than an Aidilfitri do, the event was to give Mahathir a hero’s welcome for his effort in pulling together Pakatan Harapan, which on July 14, announced its leadership line-up ahead of the upcoming 14th national polls.
Visibly excited, the crowd tailed Mahathir to the main table where DAP leaders Lim Kit Siang and Chow Kon Yeow, and Bersatu’s president Muhyiddin Yassin were already seated.
Many tried to take photos and selfies with the “famous Tun” but the latter was surrounded by his bodyguards, prompting a photographer to remark, “It’s easier to cover (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak).”
Kit Siang had arrived earlier at the venue with his DAP entourage and was also greeted by loud cheers from Bersatu members.
Chief Minister cum DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had to push his way through the thick crowd to get to the main table and remarked, “There is a traffic jam just to get here”.
Cameras clicked away as many watched in awe when Mahathir, seated beside his wife Dr Siti Hasmah, shook hands with Kit Siang and Guan Eng, flanked by Muhyiddin, PKR state chief Mansor Othman and Penang Bersatu chairperson Marzuki Yahya.
Mahathir’s son, former Kedah menteri besar Mukhriz, and Parti Amanah Negara vice-president Mujahid Yusof Rawa were also present, while DAP and PKR MPs and assemblypersons joined the event in full force.
'I did it my way'
It was a festive and carnival-like atmosphere, with a Boria performance promoting unity thrown in, while a live band sang Mahathir's favourite song, "I did it my way".
But amidst the merriment, Mahathir did not forget his mission - to unseat Najib.
Although appearing exhausted and not his usual cheeky self, the 92-year old doctor went on for 20 minutes to condemn Najib's leadership, and each salvo drew applause from the audience.
"We want to unseat him not because we want to be PM to steal the people's money so we can buy diamonds for our wives, we want to get rid of Najib so that we can save Malaysia and reduce the people’s burden."
Meanwhile, a check by Malaysiakinirevealed many senior citizens such as Aishah Mohamad (photo), who was among the 2,000-odd crowd, came to catch a glimpse of Mahathir or to hear him speak.
“He is my idol, I feel happy to see him today but there are too many people that I was unable to see him up close,” lamented the 76-year-old housewife who lives near the venue on Jalan Perak.
She smiled broadly when her son pointed out that she had recently become a Bersatu member.
"I used to tell my family and friends to vote for Barisan Nasional even though I was never a party member.
“I am tired now of seeing what this country has become that I no longer watch the national TV. I hope Harapan can bring some changes,” Aishah said, as her eyes lit up.
Government-in-waiting
Spotted in his usual traditional baju Melayu and songkok, Salleh Yahya (right in photo), a heritage activist from Tanjong Tokong, told Malaysiakini, “I am here to see the government-in- waiting.”
Salleh, a retired teacher in his 60s, said he harboured much hope in Harapan but the coalition needs to reach out to the Malays in the rural areas to explain to them why they should vote for the opposition and not BN.
“The sad part is Malays in the rural areas are sometimes disillusioned, as they feel that this new Harapan government will be no different from BN.
“The policies involving their social economic lives, land, and housing have not changed, people are still struggling and are being asked to vacate their homes for development,” Salleh decried.
Many youths were present, and for Cindy Tan (far left in photo), she was “quite excited but equally nervous” to meet Mahathir.
“I’m nervous because I never met a big shot like him before,” she said.
“This is the first time I’ve met him, I’ve only read about him in history books,” said Cindy, who at 21, is one of the youngest members of the village and security development committee in Kebun Bunga.
Meanwhile, Dalbinder Singh, 27, a nephew of the late DAP leader Karpal Singh, said youths wished to see more “principled politicking”, and expressed surprise that DAP was able to forgive Mahathir who ruled the country with an iron fist for 22 years.

The Lims, along with many other DAP, NGO and student leaders, were detained under the draconian Internal Security Act during Mahathir's era.
“Is it really for the country or for themselves - that is the question which remains unanswered in the long run,” he said.
“Tangkap (arrest) Najib? So is Mahathir an angel? I am amazed to see the presence of DAP and PKR in full force to support a party that does not even accept non-bumiputeras into its membership,” he said. - Mkini

Salleh, did Najib pay for MRT out of his own pocket?



YOURSAY | 'If billions hadn't been misdirected, we could have had MRTs in more towns...'
CQ Muar: Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak, why did you say the MRT is a gift from PM Najib Razak?
Did Najib pay from his own pocket in order to warrant that statement? If not, then stop exaggerating. There is no need to stoop so low. It is understandable you needed to earn your living, but earn it with a little bit of honour.
Speaking Sense: So, the RM21 billion for the MRT was from Najib's own money? Where did he get the RM21 billion from? Wasn't his donation from the Arabs only a miserable RM2.6 billion?
It's okay for Salleh to be a little stupid as we expect that from Umno ministers. But this stupid?
Korkor: Does that mean we don't need to pay when riding on the MRT?
Franco: What gift? The MRT project is a public undertaking where eventually the rakyat and the commuters will be paying for using its service.
So please don't insult the intelligence of the rakyat by asking us to believe that the Umno/BN government is gifting the rakyat.
Gerard Lourdesamy: It is such arrogance that really annoys the people to the extent of hating their political representatives. It was the taxpayers who funded the MRT construction and not Najib, Umno or the BN.
Salleh needs to shut up. The more he opens his mouth, the more people get angry with the government.
Learn to be humble. Salleh's incessant boot licking of the PM is not going to guarantee him the Sabah chief minister's position.
Chief Minister Musa Aman is not going to give up his golden goose without a fight. Which is great news for Parti Warisan Sabah and its chief Shafie Apdal.
Anonymous 2439891477538802: Only fools would swallow what Salleh says about the MRT being a gift from the PM, because we know it did not come from his private bank account. He obviously can't distinguish between donations and taxpayers' money.
Salleh is not only disingenuous, he is audacious and sounds like a fool.
Tpn: If we use his argument, then KLIA, Twin Towers, Putrajaya, LRT, KL Sentral and many more projects are former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad's gift to the people.
Appum: The money used for the MRT is from the people - from the taxes of the people - and the people deserved such facilities a long time ago.
And they would have gotten it long ago if there had been no leakages, corruption, and proper policy management for the nation.
Because we have lost so much from corruption to the tune of billions, all having been misdirected elsewhere, we could have had MRTs in more towns and cities but don't.
Show us, Salleh, where all the money for this recent MRT came from. Don't try to con us again. You can do that to the kampung people and the ignorant, but not to all who know what's happening to this nation.
Basically: Wow, Umno ministers think just doing their job is doing the people a huge favour. We pay your salary and for all government projects. You might spare us the favours and quit your post, if working as a minister is such a chore that we have to be grateful for some effort spent.
Using government money to lure voters is corruption, abuse and an election offence. Go learn from the cases of former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi and former Filipino president Gloria Arroyo's election blunders.
Salleh's remark also reminds me of a sign I saw last month at the roadworks along the horrible Kuala Kangsar coastal road that read, “We are upgrading the road because we care for you” with the 1Malaysia logo.
Because you “care for us”? Widening and repaving the road is your job. You are doing roadworks because of 50 years of neglect and incompetence.
The road is so bad, it's remarkable that it only gets a makeover when elections are due. Please don't insult the people's intelligence, at the very least.
Apunghl: I have really got to give it to these people; they take our money, use it to build something, that is, do their job, and say it their gift to us.
Even if Najib uses his RM2.6 billion to do something, we would eventually still have to pay for it.
Susahkes: Salleh, your government is obligated to build the MRT in the first place, to deliver services from the utilisation of our tax revenue.
In simple terms - I provide you with the funds to complete a mandated assignment, and upon your required delivery, you are now telling me, that I must say “thank you” to you?
Hplooi: Najib is not a god or a king bestowing blessings on his people. The MRT was a natural will of the people who elected you, and which was paid with taxes from the people.
If another party is elected to the highest office, the MRT would still get built, and in all probability, without the cost distortions caused by crony capitalism.
Shunyata: It's always heart-warming to receive a gift from our prime minister that is sponsored by the people.
Oscar Kilo: The difference is that Najib is embroiled in numerous multi-billion-dollar scandals such as 1MDB.
Also, if you read Buletin Mutiara carefully, you would notice that it does not say Gurney Wharf is a gift from Lim Guan Eng.
It just says “... It is a sincere gift to the people of Penang." Meaning that it is a gift from the state government, not from the chief minister personally.
Vijay47: Salleh, I understand that it is your passionate pastime to make comments however unbelievable they may be, on anything the opposition may or may not do.
But what I do not understand is how you, supposedly a minister in Najib's legendary government, can devote all his attention to twiddling with the internet rather than focussing on the responsibilities you are paid for.
Of late you are reflecting a glaring weakness in some of your already limited abilities, an inability to fathom the nuances used in the English language. When Mahathir says short, you take it to mean lacking in height. I wonder what you would make of "falling short"!
Turning to the present issue, the word "gift" seems to bother you. Did Guan Eng ever suggest that Gurney Wharf was financed by him or his party?

A more common appreciation of Guan Eng's comments would be that he was referring to a benefit that the people of Penang had earned for themselves. -Mkini