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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

No reason for emergency budget rule, says opposition leader

 


Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said there is no reason for the new emergency ordinance that allows federal and state governments to pass supplementary budgets without legislative scrutiny.

He said the Budget 2021 passed four months ago already allocated sufficient funds for the country’s Covid-19 response.

“There is absolutely no reason for the government to seek such extraordinary fiduciary powers at this time. The Budget 2021 has been passed less than four months ago which allocated adequate spending for the Covid-19 response.

“Any valid additional spending would be approved in Parliament by a majority and would likely gain bipartisan support if it was deemed appropriate,” he said in a statement today.

He said he strongly opposes the new law as “unethical and irresponsible” and belies the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government’s motives regarding the current state of emergency.

“While PN states the emergency is necessary to battle Covid-19, in fact, the laws which are being enacted under the emergency have little to do with Covid-19 and mostly are about punishing civil society, suppressing free speech and pilfering the public coffers,” Anwar said.

He also expressed concern that the new ordinance could have an impact on Malaysia’s reputation and confidence in its economy and urged for parliamentary sittings to be resumed immediately.

Also joining the call for the resumption of parliament is Pekan MP Najib Abdul Razak, who said it is important for lawmakers to scrutinise government spending.

“Government debt is not borne by the government of the day, but by future governments and will finally land on the rakyat through various new taxes,” he said in a Facebook post today.

He questioned whether this and other financial measures could nudge Malaysia above its debt ceiling of 60 percent of annual GDP, which has already been raised from 55 percent last year.

He noted that the government increased the limit of the value of projects awarded through direct tender from RM20,000 to RM50,000 in February, and has already borrowed RM54.5 billion since the beginning of the year.

“It is rumoured that many more projects that are even bigger have been awarded in the past few months - whether through direct negotiation or limited tender - on grounds that the awarding of the project needs to be expedited to fight Covid-19.

“That’s why I have previously asked whether the government’s debt ratio has already exceeded 62.2 percent, which is above the 60 percent limit that was increased from 55 percent last August,” he said.

Earlier today, the government gazetted the Emergency (Essential Powers) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 that allows the prime minister, chief minister or menteri besar to pass a supplementary budget or use consolidated funds without going through the legislature as long as the emergency is in force.

The new law also suspended Paragraph 4(b) of the Government Funding Act 1983 and Paragraph 2(2)(b) of the Treasury Bills (Local) Act 1946, which are in relation to the Dewan Rakyat's authority over money matters.

Parliament and all legislative assemblies have been suspended since Jan 11 through a proclamation of emergency. - Mkini

Annamah is oldest woman in Malaysia at 110

 A. Annamah watches her diet by consuming herbs and fasting. - NSTP/DANIAL SAAD

BUTTERWORTH: A. Annamah has been recognised by the Malaysia Book of Records (MBOR) as the "Oldest Living Woman" at 110 in conjunction with her birthday here today.

During a celebration, attended by MBOR chief executive officer Christopher Wong, Annamah was presented with a recognition certificate for having defended her record as the Oldest Living Woman in Malaysia, which she held since last year.

According to her son, M. Subramaniam, 73, Annamah's memory is still strong despite her advanced age.

In fact, he said, she could still recognise some of the women who had sought her services as a midwife during her younger days.

"It is just that her hearing and vision have been deteriorating in recent years.

A. Annamah holds a framed certificate from the Malaysia Book of Records (MBOR) after she was recognised as  the “Oldest Living Woman”, in Butterworth. - NSTP/DANIAL SAAD
A. Annamah holds a framed certificate from the Malaysia Book of Records (MBOR) after she was recognised as the “Oldest Living Woman”, in Butterworth. - NSTP/DANIAL SAAD

"In fact, my mother was still able to walk by herself five to six years ago, washed her own clothes and do other chores.

"However, in recent years, she has been confined to the wheel chair," he told newsmen.

Sharing his mother's secret to longevity, Subramaniam said Annamah watched her diet by consuming herbs and practiced fasting, something which she has been doing since young.

A. Annamah celebrates her 110the birthday with family members in Butterworth. - NSTP/DANIAL SAAD
A. Annamah celebrates her 110the birthday with family members in Butterworth. - NSTP/DANIAL SAAD

"In the past, my mum would fast once a week, on Mondays.

"Also, she is not one who sits still while we were staying in the estate previously.

"When she returned from work at the estate, she would plant her own vegetables, attend to her chickens and many others," he added.

Malaysia Book of Records (MBOR) chief executive officer Christopher Wong (left) presents a framed certificated to  A. Annamahm while being helped by her son M. Subramanian. -NSTP/DANIAL SAAD
Malaysia Book of Records (MBOR) chief executive officer Christopher Wong (left) presents a framed certificated to A. Annamahm while being helped by her son M. Subramanian. -NSTP/DANIAL SAAD

Annamah was born and raised in India before she migrated to Malaysia during her teenage years.

Besides having five children, with two of them still alive, including Subramaniam, Annamah is also a grandmother to 17 grandchildren and great grandmother to seven great grandchildren. - NST

Youth and Sports Ministry tables proposal to separate Undi18, automatic voter registration to cabinet

 Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican with Khairy Jamaluddin and Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal (right) at the Malaysia Vaccine Support Volunteers (MYVAC) duty assignment in Putrajaya, March 31, 2021. — Bernama pic

Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican with Khairy Jamaluddin and Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal (right) at the Malaysia Vaccine Support Volunteers (MYVAC) duty assignment in Putrajaya, March 31, 2021. — Bernama pic



PUTRAJAYA, March 31 — The Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) has tabled a proposal to the Cabinet today to separate the implementation of the 18-year-old voting age (Undi18) and automatic voter registration process.

Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said the ministry hoped that the Election Commission (EC) could implement the proposal as all Cabinet members today have expressed their support for Undi18.

“The amendment (to the Federal Constitution) comprises various matters, so I think we have to start with the low hanging fruit,” he said, adding that he would submit a letter to the EC and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan on the respective proposal.

Speaking to reporters after the handing-over of assignments to the Malaysia Vaccine Support Volunteers (MyVAC) volunteer teams here, today, Reezal Merican said Takiyuddin would also table the details of the issue next week.

EC chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh was reported to have said that the automatic voter registration and lowering of voting age to 18 could only be implemented after September 1, 2022, and the statement was questioned by many quarters who described the postponement as unreasonable.

On July 16, 2019, Dewan Rakyat had approved the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 that seeks to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, automatic voter registration and lowering the eligible age to contest in election to 18.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin who was also present at the event said he supported KBS’ argument in today’s Cabinet meeting on the separation of the process as they were informed that the automatic voter registration system has yet to be completed.

“If we cannot implement automatic registration due to system issue, why must we delay Undi18. Undi18 can proceed. That was our counter-argument and we will decide in the Cabinet (meeting) next week,” he said.

Meanwhile, KBS received almost 8,000 applications to become MyVAC volunteers since it was launched on February 26, with Selangor recording the highest number of registrations with 1,244 people, followed by Sabah (1,009), Penang (734), Perak (617) and Kedah (612).

Reezal Merican said the number also exceeded the government’s initial target of 6,000 volunteers who would be placed in over 600 vaccination centres nationwide.

He added that the programme was driven by a whole-society approach in ensuring the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme runs smoothly. — Bernama

Travellers must observe SOP even if they have received full vaccine dosage: Health DG

 

KUALA LUMPUR: Travellers who have already received the full dose of Covid-19 vaccine are still required to follow all standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the government.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah thanked all parties and individuals who are still following SOPs after taking the first dose of the vaccine.

"This is in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) stand that Covid-19 vaccines cannot be used as an 'immunity passport' as the immunisation programme is still at its initial stages," he said in a statement on Wednesday (March 31).

Based on the latest information, Dr Noor Hisham said the completion of the vaccine dosage can reduce complications and curb the spread of the virus.

"The Health Ministry will continue to monitor and look into the latest developments involving vaccine studies and the respective immunisation programmes that are currently conducted across the world in order to protect public safety," he said.

"The matter will be looked into from time to time based on data, developments and views from WHO," he said.

He added that a new variant of Covid-19 had emerged and it might affect the effectiveness of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

"Travellers abroad, especially those from countries with high infection rates, might increase the spread of the virus in our country.

"Therefore, the government has taken various measures including to tighten borders, Covid-19 screening at all international entry points, and mandatory quarantine at home or identified stations for travellers.

"This will be practised even for travellers who have had the full dose of the vaccine before leaving their respective countries," he said, urging them to also adhere to all the SOPs set by the government.

He said the government would tighten public health measures and conduct risk assessment from to time, taking Covid-19 developments locally and abroad.

"The public has been urged to adhere to the SOPs including physical distancing, wearing face masks and cleaning their hands often as part of the initiative to combat Covid-19," he said. - Star

The NEP — 30 years past its expiry date

 

From Kua Kia Soong

The government’s New Economic Policy (NEP), announced in 1970, was embodied in the Second Malaysia Plan (SMP) (1971-1975) and elaborated on in the Outline Perspective Plan for the period 1971 to 1990 in the Mid-Term Review of the SMP.

Abdul Razak Hussein, who succeeded Tunku Abdul Rahman as prime minister after the May 13 incident, stated that the twin aims of the NEP were the restructuring of Malaysian society to correct the economic imbalance between the races and the eradication of poverty.

The method by which the government proposed to “correct the economic imbalance” was to increase Malay ownership of the share capital of limited companies from about 1.5% in 1970 to 30% by 1990.

It was noticeably clear to all that 1990 was the expiry date for the NEP. The recently launched Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV) is but a rehash of the NEP, with similar emphasis on race-based Bumiputera policies and a similar failure to address fundamental questions relating to the corporate sector, education and racial polarisation.

Through the 50 years of the NEP, hardcore poverty has been largely eliminated, the Malay middle class has grown, the economy has diversified, and Malaysia has become an upper middle-income nation.

Clearly, the aim of correcting the “economic imbalance between the races” has been achieved and at least since 1990, the “commanding heights” of the Malaysian economy, notably the banking sector, have been in the hands of Bumiputeras.

While the middle class among the non-Bumiputeras have adapted as best they can to this racially discriminatory policy, the working class, and the poor among the non-Bumiputeras have had to cope with a life of abject poverty and marginalisation.

They have also been forced to pay exorbitant fees in the private colleges and universities, which have grown out of the discriminatory policies operating in the public tertiary institutions.

Nevertheless, the NEP has clearly been abused by “Umnoputras” through the decades and criticised for its shortcomings and impediments to further growth of Malaysian economy and society. In fact, not long after the NEP was implemented, Razak lamented, “Some became rich overnight while others became despicable Ali Babas, and the country suffered economic setbacks.”

Interestingly, the latest critic of the NEP is none other than one of Razak’s offsprings, the corporate star, Nazir Razak.

He has spoken out that “… the principles in the NEP no longer work and have instead led to dysfunctional politics and growing divisions among Malaysia’s communities”.

He has said the status quo is quickly becoming untenable and asked if the country’s leaders had the initiative to develop and implement new political, economic and social systems.

He warned that these festering issues would boil over if the country’s leaders failed to act with urgency to institute reforms.

Moreover, he had the sense to see that for long-term structural issues, you cannot rely on political parties, which tend to focus on very short-term election cycles.

More importantly, he reiterated the fact that the NEP was not meant to be a permanent solution, that is it had an expiry date. Allow me to dissect this elaborate NEP scam.

NEP as a game of statistical charade

A few years ago, in a rare example of professional integrity in Malaysia, Dr Lim Teck Ghee resigned as the research director of the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute’s Centre for Public Policy Studies over the perversion of statistics on ownership of capital according to ethnicity in Malaysia.

Lim’s report had concluded that Bumiputera corporate equity ownership was much higher than that shown in government statistics. In fact, since the late 1980s, even Gerakan, one of the component parties of then ruling BN coalition had published papers to testify to this fact of “hidden” Bumiputera corporate equity ownership.

More recently, Professor Terence Gomez has pointed out the lack of clarity on the tabulation of such figures on equity ownership, especially whether government-linked companies were included under the category of Bumiputera-held equities.

He has often questioned the race-based criteria for wealth distribution:

“Why the continuing fixation with numbers when many Malaysians, among them even members of BN component parties, have questioned the veracity of these government-released ownership figures?

“Even if Bumiputera equity ownership is increased to 30%, would this mean that wealth has been more equitably distributed among members of this community or between them and other Malaysians? And, most importantly, should we continue to perpetuate a discourse on equitable wealth distribution among Malaysians along racial lines?”

NEP has fostered a golden age of crony capitalism

Was it surprising that throughout the years of the Bumiputera agenda, Malaysia has featured high on The Economist’s crony capitalism index? Uncontrolled rent-seeking has allowed politically well-connected billionaires to double their wealth, thereby posing a threat to the free market, The Economist said.

These rent-seeking industries include those easily monopolised, and that involve licensing or heavy state involvement, which it said was “prone to graft”.

From the 1980s on, Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s privatisation of state assets ensured the divestment of state capital into the hands of favoured Malay crony capitalists. The success of the NEP in restructuring capital has, in the process, increased class differentiation within the Malay community.

Thus, instead of targeting and providing strategic aid to the poor of all ethnic communities, the Umno ruling elite has continued to use the tried and trusted strategies of race-based cash aid and uplift plans aimed at Bumiputeras.

While Bumiputera policies are intended to benefit all Bumiputeras, the reality is that these policies have been usurped by the privileged Malay elite whose weak enterprise culture and expertise has had damaging consequences for the economic health of the nation.

The bureaucracy has grown in tandem with the populist measures by the state capitalist class to carve out bigger and bigger slices of the rural and urban economic pie.

Some of the most fabulous financial scandals happened during Mahathir’s term as prime minister — the Maminco-Makuwasa scandal in 1981 incurred a loss of RM1.6 billion or more; the Bank Bumiputra and Bumiputra Malaysia Finance scandal in 1984 saw RM2.5 billion lost in loans and a bank official murdered in Hong Kong; the Bank Negara Malaysia foreign exchange losses of between RM16 billion and RM31 billion in 1992; Perwaja Steel which made accumulated losses of RM9.9 billion by 1996.

The economic recession during the mid-1980s hastened the process of privatisation by Mahathir with the passage of the Promotion of Investment Act 1986 to open the economy to private investments.

Thus, one state sector after another became corporatised followed by privatisation: Telekom in 1987, followed by Malaysian Airlines, MISC (the shipping corporation), TV3, North-South Highway, Pos Malaysia, the electricity board (TNB), the railways (KTM) and Hicom (heavy industries).

The privatisation policy involved Umno-linked businessmen using personal connections to influence the allocation of those favours.

Since that time, Bumiputeras have been given, among other privileges, priority for government contracts, increased access to capital, opportunities to buy assets that are privatised and other subsidies.

Those who benefited most from these privatisation transfers were the Umno state capitalists. The leader of the opposition called this “piratisation”.

With the overnight affluence among the Umno leaders, money politics became the norm in the party elections and the stock market was blatantly manipulated to raise funds for the political campaigns.

The periodic power struggles within Umno often produce unexpected revelations of great interest to the people. Thus, in November 1994, it was revealed that relatives of top Umno politicians had been profiting from the preferential share-allocation scheme originally designed to help ordinary Malays under the NEP.

All in all, Barry Wain claimed that during his term in office from 1981 to 2003, Mahathir lost or squandered RM100 billion through mismanagement, corruption and financial scandals.

If it had not been for the fortuitous flow of oil, most of the prestige projects associated with the Mahathir era would not have been possible. Still, the profligate spending on these projects has left little for reinvestment and social services by our sovereign wealth fund for the present and future generations.

The scandal surrounding our sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB, leading to the charge against prime minister Najib Razak, another son of Razak, is perhaps one of the most fabulous examples of the NEP’s abuses.

More recently, we see Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary holding stakes in the government-linked Media Prima, Bernas, Pos Malaysia, MMC Bhd and DRB Hicom.

He also holds the lucrative 5G contract, given not long after Mahathir resigned as prime minister in 2020.

NEP is an obstacle to attaining high-income status

According to an International Monetary Fund working paper, Malaysia, as compared with other Asian countries, faces a larger risk of a slowdown stemming from institutional and macroeconomic factors.

A recent Asia Foundation Report also points to a compelling need for Malaysia to shift from a race-based to a needs-based policy to address imbalances in society and improve the democratic process to ensure good governance and that the rule of law prevails.

It points out that poor institutions could deter innovation, hamper the efficiency of resource allocation, and reduce the returns to entrepreneurship.

The report goes on to reason that despite the numerous bold policy measures and long-term plans introduced by the government over the years, Malaysia’s economic progress continues to be plagued by a lack of innovation and skills, a low level of investments in technology, declining standards in education, relatively high labour cost and sluggish growth in productivity.

These lagging factors can be traced to the continuation of a backward racial discriminatory policy.

Thus far, Malaysia’s education system has failed to produce the skills and talent required to take the country’s economy to the next level. A key obstacle lies in the government’s failure to promote a fair and open economy. The Bumiputera policy and insufficient checks and balances continue to hamper the country’s economy, leading to poor practices in governance.

Under the NEP, wages have been suppressed by bringing in millions of workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and the Philippines. A significant number of them have become Malaysian citizens over the years, altering the overall racial and religious balance in the country itself.

Until today, the government has not shown a willingness to increase minimum wages, which could help the poor B40 increase their incomes. These are holding back our avowed attempt to become a high-income society.

Time for a new national policy

Thirty years beyond the 1990 expiry date for the NEP, it is time to face facts and recognise what is working in the national interest and dispense with what is not. The question is, are we serious about ensuring Malaysia embarks on a path of a socially just, fair, and democratic development?

If so, then a new national policy must be implemented, with a new socially-just affirmative action policy based on need/class or sector and not on race with priority given to indigenous people, the marginalised and poor communities.

Only such a race-free policy can convince the people that the government is socially just, fair and democratic.

The cost and consequences of the racially discriminatory policy in Malaysia have been immense, especially since the NEP in 1971. It has caused a crippling polarisation of Malaysian society and a costly brain drain.

While the Chinese middle and working classes in Malaysia have largely adapted to this public sector discrimination by finding ways to make a living in the private sector, this has not been so easy for working-class Indians.

Many Malaysian Indians have found themselves marginalised, much like the African-Americans in the US were, especially after the destruction of the traditional plantation economy. The cost of preferential treatment has also seen greater intra-community inequality, with higher class members creaming off the benefits and opportunities.

More potentially dangerous and insidious is the effect this widespread racial discrimination has had on ethnic relations in this country. It is time to improve the quality of education, get better quality investments in, raise productivity, and hence labour wages, and provide equal opportunities for growth and innovation among all communities.

We need to institutionalise means testing for any access to scholarships or other entitlements and implement merit-based recruitment in civil and armed services. And if we want to be in the United Nations Human Rights Council, it is high time for us to ratify the International Convention on the Eradication of Racial Discrimination.

Last but not least, Malaysia is a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals, of which a commitment to equality is an indispensable goal. - FMT

Kua Kia Soong is the adviser to Suaram.

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

Majlis buka puasa di masjid, surau seluruh Perak dibenarkan ikut SOP

 

Pengarah Jabatan Agama Islam Perak Mohd Yusop Husin berkata, pihaknya akan menyediakan garis panduan berhubung perkara itu yang akan dikeluarkan dalam masa terdekat. (Gambar Reuters)

IPOH: Penganjuran majlis berbuka puasa dan moreh selepas solat sunat tarawih sepanjang Ramadan di semua masjid dan surau di negeri Perak dibenarkan dengan prosedur operasi standard (SOP) yang ketat.

Memetik laporan BH Online, Pengarah Jabatan Agama Islam Perak Mohd Yusop Husin berkata, pihaknya akan menyediakan garis panduan berhubung perkara itu yang akan dikeluarkan dalam masa terdekat.

“SOP yang lebih terperinci akan diedarkan kepada semua masjid dalam sehari dua lagi. Namun apa yang boleh saya katakan setakat ini, hidangan secara berhidang turut dibenarkan, tidak hanya juadah secara bungkus.

“Keputusan sama ada juadah secara berhidang atau juadah secara bungkus terpulang kepada jawatankuasa masjid masing-masing.

“Yang penting pastikan SOP dan kena ada penjarakan fizikal,” katanya ketika dihubungi hari ini.

Sebelum ini, Majlis Agama Islam dan Adat Melayu Perak (MAIPk) tidak membenarkan jamuan makan diadakan di masjid atau surau termasuk di perkaranganya biarpun membenarkan perlaksanaan solat berjemaah di masjid dan surau negeri mengikut kapasiti dewan solat.

Bagaimanapun minggu lalu, Menteri Besar Perak Saarani Mohamad berkata, kerajaan negeri sedia mempertimbangkan cadangan JAIPk supaya masjid di negeri ini menganjurkan bazar Ramadan pada tahun ini susulan kebenaran mengadakan bazar Ramadan yang diberikan kerajaan pusat baru-baru ini. - FMT

Warga Filipina belasah lelaki hingga patah 7 gigi dicekup

 

Habibi berkata, siasatan awal mendapati suspek tidak mempunyai sebarang rekod jenayah dan siasatan dijalankan mengikut Seksyen 326 Kanun Keseksaan.

KOTA KINABALU: Pemandu kenderaan yang membelasah seorang lelaki sehingga patah tujuh giginya berjaya ditahan polis, hari ini.

Ketua Polis Daerah Kota Kinabalu Habibi Majinji berkata, suspek berusia 35 tahun itu ditahan di kawasan Kepayan kira-kira jam 2 petang tadi.

Katanya, kereta Perodua Alza dan senjata yang digunakan iaitu sebatang cota juga berjaya dirampas bagi membantu siasatan.

“Suspek adalah warganegara Filipina dan berada di negara ini secara sah menggunakan pasport.

“Esok suspek akan dibawa ke mahkamah majistret untuk permohonan reman bagi membantu siasatan,” katanya ketika ditemui, hari ini.

Habibi berkata, siasatan awal mendapati suspek tidak mempunyai sebarang rekod jenayah dan siasatan dijalankan mengikut Seksyen 326 Kanun Keseksaan kerana dengan sengaja menyebabkan kecederaan.

“Suspek akan direman esok manakala mangsa kini sudah sedarkan diri dan dalam keadaan stabil,” katanya. - FMT

2 food factories raided over false halal claims

 

The use of false halal trade descriptions has landed two food companies in trouble with the domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry.

PUTRAJAYA: The domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry raided two companies involved in food-related activities on two separate occasions following complaints of using false halal trade descriptions and false Malaysian Conformity (MC) markings.

The ministry’s enforcement chief Azman Adam said the operation on a company that packaged and distributed light snacks such as biscuits in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan was carried out after it was suspected of using false halal trade descriptions and MC markings on its product boxes.

According to Azman, the company was suspected to have included free gifts in the form of toys into the light snack package or boxes by using a halal logo and MC mark, which were not approved, on the product boxes.

Azman, in a statement, today, said examinations and checks on several documents found the company did not have valid halal certification from the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim).

It also did not have a certificate of confirmation for the toys as a “free gift” which would enable the company to place the MC markings as indications that the goods had complied with toy security standards stipulated on the boxes.

The case is being investigated under the Trade Descriptions Act 2011, Consumer Protection Act 2011 and Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds from Illegal Activities Act 2001, he said.

A total of 1,700 units of toys that did not have the MC compliance markings and the documents of the company were seized, he said.

In the second operation against a groundnut and murukku factory, Azman said a check on several documents found the company had obtained a valid halal certification from Jakim.

However, Jakim issued four notices over the non-compliance of the company with regard to its original equipment manufacturing and internal halal control. - FMT

Khazanah sells SilTerra for RM273mil

 

DNex and CGP Fund will be injecting at least RM200 million into Silterra Malaysia. (silterra.com pic)

PETALING JAYA: Khazanah has sold SilTerra Malaysia Sdn Bhd to Dagang NeXchange Bhd (DNeX) and a Chinese firm for RM273 million, according to a report.

The Edge reported that DNeX and Beijing Integrated Circuit Advanced Manufacturing and High-End Equipment Equity Investment Fund Center (CGP Fund) signed a share sale and purchase agreement to take over the semiconductor unit.

Citing a statement by DNeX, it said the firm will acquire a 60% equity stake in SilTerra for RM163.8 million while CGP Fund will obtain the remainder for RM109.2 million.

“The purchase consideration for DNeX will be funded through a combination of proceeds to be raised from a proposed private placement, internally-generated funds and/or borrowings,” according to the financial daily.

DNeX and CGP Fund will also be injecting at least RM200 million to the company.

“From the capital injection, approximately RM150 million will be mainly utilised as capital expenditure to upgrade SilTerra’s equipment and manufacturing capabilities in new technologies, with the remaining allocated for working capital,” DNex said.

The report added that DNeX is set to inject around RM120 million, based on its 60% stake.

DNeX said the acquisition is set to be finished before the third quarter of this year, while the capital injection is expected to be done within six months after that.

In thanking Khazanah for entrusting the firm with turning SilTerra around, DNeX managing director Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said he was optimistic about the company’s potential to grow at a rapid pace.

“We believe SilTerra can ride on the current shortage in the global semiconductor market and turn a better financial performance in the coming years,” he said.

He added that DNeX has set a two-year timeline to bring SilTerra back into profitability. - FMT

Singapore mulls allowing Muslim nurses to wear tudung

 

Lee Hsien Loong says any change must be carefully considered and gradual. (AFP pic)

SINGAPORE: The Singapore government fully appreciates the growing socio-religious significance of the tudung (head cover) to Muslim Singaporeans and the desire of some Muslim nurses to wear the tudung with their uniform if they wish to do so, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said today.

“We are presently considering how this can be done,” he said in a reply to Singapore mufti Nazirudin Nasir, who wrote to him to express the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore’s (Muis) support for the government’s deliberations on letting nurses wear the tudung.

Lee who shared the mufti’s letter and his reply on his Facebook page today, thanked Muis and the asatizah (religious teachers) fraternity for participating in the government’s consultations on the issue in recent years.

According to Lee, Singapore’s racial and religious harmony is based on treating everyone equally without prejudice or discrimination, and building a national identity shared by all communities while allowing each community to practise its faith and way of life.

“We have done this through mutual accommodation, compromise and trust building by all groups.

“Over time, we have reached a delicate balance that considers the interests of all communities. But this balance is dynamic,” Lee said.

As younger generations of Singaporeans grew up and attitudes changed, Lee said new issues and pressures arose and these must be addressed taking into account Singapore’s context.

“Any change we make must be carefully considered and gradual. Only thus will the changes be understood and accepted by all communities, and the outcomes reinforce rather than weaken our racial and religious harmony.”

Before ending the letter, the prime minister said he looked forward to working with Muis to strengthen social cohesion and to achieve progress for the Muslim community and all Singaporeans. - FMT

No decision yet on sale of water to Penang, says Perak MB

 

Saarani Mohamad at the event with the Orang Asli in Kampung Suak Padi near Parit, Perak. (Bernama pic)

PARIT: The Perak government has not decided yet on whether to sell raw water to Penang.

Menteri besar Saarani Mohamad said the state government was instead giving priority to channelling the natural resource to the domestic areas first, especially the Kerian district.

“At this stage, we are studying whether the water in Sungai Perak is sufficient or not for domestic use. We want to help the farmers and padi growers in the Kerian district as they often face water supply shortage during the dry season.

“There’s no final decision yet. We have to study the matter (of selling water to Penang) first due to the urgent need for sufficient water supply to farmers in the Kerian district.”

Saarani was speaking to reporters after officiating the opening of the Lambor community digital centre at the Mukim Lambor Penghulu Office in conjunction with the Menteri Besar Bersama Rakyat (Mesra) Programme in the Perak Tengah district, here, today.

Earlier, Saarani visited the Lambor Bridge that connects Kampung Lambor Kiri and Kampung Lambor Kanan across Sungai Perak and Kampung Dusoon Sara (kampung chicken) farm in Lambor Kanan, and officiated the event with the Orang Asli in Kampung Suak Padi, here.

Asked whether the raw water supply matter was still being discussed with the Penang government, he said he had recently met with Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow unofficially, with Chow still stating his state government’s interest in buying raw water from Perak. - FMT

After months of lockdown, IIUM allows students out

 

The students had staged an“#OpenTheGate” march asking to be allowed in and out of the campus in Gombak.

PETALING JAYA: After months of confining its students to its campus in Gombak, the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) will allow them to go on outings from tomorrow.

This comes after a video went viral on social media yesterday of a gathering at the IIUM Gombak campus, held by students residing on campus demanding that the university allow them to move in and out of campus.

In the video, students were seen holding placards with the words “#OpenTheGate”, while a poster issued before the event called on others to join in the march to spread “awareness regarding campus freedom”.

It is believed the students have been barred from going out for several months due to the university’s Covid-19 standard operating procedures.

Following the video and a subsequent meeting between the student union and the university rector, IIUM today issued a new set of guidelines.

Students are now permitted to go out and visit green zone areas from 8am to 10pm, although they are still encouraged to remain on campus.

Students, however, must return by 10pm on the same day and are not allowed on overnight stays away from campus. Those who fail to comply will be quarantined and may be required to undergo swab tests at their own expense.

When contacted by FMT, student union representative Amin Mubarak sought to clear the air, saying yesterday’s event was not a protest but merely a “negotiation between students and the deputy rector”.

“It was a peaceful negotiation and no students were arrested,” Amin told FMT. - FMT

PAS Has Chosen BOTH Umno And PPBM

 

PAS wants to continue with both Umno and PPBM. PAS will not break from Umno and PPBM. But if Umno wants to break from PAS, then PAS can do nothing about it — just like what happened in 2001 and 2015 when DAP broke from PAS.

NO HOLD BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Umno wants PAS to choose — Umno or PPBM (or Muafakat Nasional or Perikatan Nasional). Yesterday, PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang met up with PPBM President Muhyiddin Yassin and they agreed that PAS and PPBM will work together to face GE15.

PAS has not chosen PPBM over Umno. PAS chooses both PPBM and Umno. If, however, Umno cannot accept this, PAS will leave it to Umno to decide what they want to do. If Umno decides it wants to break from PAS, then this is Umno’s decision. PAS will not break from Umno but Umno can break from PAS if it wants to do so.

PAS has no problem with Umno

PAS has a history of always being loyal to its partners. When Anwar Ibrahim persuaded the PAS President, Ustaz Fadzil Muhammad Noor, for PAS to join PKR, DAP and PRM to form Barisan Alternatif in 1999, Ustaz Fadzil agreed purely out of friendship (both Anwar and Ustaz Fadzil were ABIM leaders).

PAS knew DAP was anti-Islam, but PAS also knew that the opposition needed a viable coalition if it wanted to beat Barisan Nasional. Without a coalition, Barisan Nasional would be impossible to beat.

So, PAS set aside its differences and tolerated DAP’s anti-Islam stance for the sake of an opposition coalition.

To satisfy DAP and its Chinese supporters, PAS even inserted an advertisement in The Star declaring that in the event Barisan Alternatif wins the general election and forms the federal government, PAS will not push for Hudud laws to be implemented or for Malaysia to be turned into an Islamic State.

There you go. PAS bent over backwards to make DAP happy for the sake of an opposition coalition that would be strong enough to take on Barisan Nasional.

PAS was even able to work with DAP for the sake of a viable coalition

But then Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh lost their seats in the 1999 general election because the Chinese voters in Penang were not happy that DAP was in bed with PAS. So, in 2001, DAP left Barisan Alternatif on the excuse of its irreconcilable differences with PAS.

Yes, PAS did not divorce DAP in spite of DAP’s attacks on the Terengganu Sharia laws. It was DAP who broke from PAS and who left Barisan Alternatif.

Seven years later in 2008, when DAP, again, joined the opposition coalition, this time called Pakatan Rakyat, PAS accepted DAP with open arms. PAS just swept under the carpet all the insults DAP had made against PAS from 2001 to 2008. PAS closed its ears to DAP’s attacks on Islam and the Sharia.

PAS was more interested in seeing the opposition coalition succeed. So, PAS forgave DAP for all its attacks on PAS, Islam, the Sharia and Hudud. PAS forgave DAP for all its sins for the sake of the success of Pakatan Rakyat.

Umno cannot stand being number two even though it lost GE14

Then, another seven years later in 2015, DAP again betrayed PAS. DAP broke with PAS and closed down Pakatan Rakyat. DAP also financed the anti-Sharia group in PAS to leave the party en bloc to form a new rival Islamic party, Amanah.

Yet, again, PAS stayed loyal to DAP. It was DAP, for the second time, who stabbed PAS in the back.

That is how PAS treats its partners. DAP may be non-Malay. DAP may be anti-Islam. DAP may be anti-Sharia. DAP may be anti-Hudud. DAP may be pro-Secular State. DAP may be anti-Islamic State. But PAS stayed loyal to DAP for the sake of the coalition.

If that is how PAS treats its coalition partners even when it is non-Malay, anti-PAS, anti-Islam, anti-Sharia, anti-Hudud, and so on, why would PAS not treat a fellow Malay-Islamic party better?

PAS wants to continue with both Umno and PPBM. PAS will not break from Umno and PPBM. But if Umno wants to break from PAS, then PAS can do nothing about it — just like what happened in 2001 and 2015 when DAP broke from PAS.