MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Friday, March 31, 2023

Himpunan Anak Kedah venue: Mat Sabu is lying, claims Kedah MB's political secretary

 Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu has been accused of  lying regarding the reservation for Himpunan Anak Kedah venue. -Bernama file pic

ALOR STAR: Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu has been accused of lying regarding the reservation for Himpunan Anak Kedah venue.

Kedah Menteri Besar's political secretary Mohd Hilmi Abd Wahab claimed Mohamad had lied when he denied that his ministry had ordered Maeps to bar the Kedah government from renting the venue.

Hilmi said on March 23, he had gone to Malaysia Agro Exposition Park (Maeps) together with his team for site visit and met with several parties including the venue management.

He claimed that the management of the site subsequently agreed for Kedah government to rent Hall A for the Himpunan Anak-Anak Kedah scheduled to be held on April 9.

"In the discussion with Maeps management and their caterer, we have agreed with the RM70,000 cost for venue rental and meals offered by the management.

"However, on March 29, 2023, I have received a Whatsapp from the event caterer to inform that the ministry has contacted Maeps management to inform not to allow the event to take place at the site.

"The reason given was because Datuk Seri Sanusi (Kedah Menteri Besar) was in the poster for the event and he was scheduled to attend the dinner," he said in a statement.

It was reported earlier today that Mohamad has fired a salvo at Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor for claiming that he had revoked an approval for an event venue involving Kedah menteri besar.

In a Facebook posting, Mohamad, or popularly known as Mat Sabu, said it was bewildering for Sanusi to make such claims.

Mohamad claimed that it was strange for the Kedah MB to say the approval for the hall rental had been revoked by the ministry since the Maeps hall management had yet to issue any letter of acceptance.

He also added that there was no problem with holding the Anak Terengganu event in Maeps and it would proceed as scheduled.

Mohamad also shared a screengrab of a message from Mardicorp – the agency that managed Maeps – that stated it was still preparing a quotation for the venue booking.

The message also stated that the agency had yet to issue any quotation or letter of acceptance to the organiser.

Yesterday, Sanusi claimed that the booking for a venue for a breaking of fast with Kedahans living in the Klang Valley this April 9 had been revoked.

The claims came a day after Sanusi, who is also Kedah PN chairman, uploaded a Facebook posting claiming that he had been barred from attending federal government events, including the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima 2023) scheduled this May.

He had claimed that the decision was made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's cabinet.

It was reported that Sanusi claimed that the cabinet directive to exclude him from Lima 2023 was informed by a ministry official to officers at the Menteri Besar Office on Tuesday.

However, yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi denied that the cabinet had issued such a directive. Despite Zahid's rebuttal, Sanusi insisted that he was still barred from Lima 2023. - NST

PM Anwar pays courtesy call on President Xi


BEIJING: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has paid a courtesy call on China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People here on Friday (March 31).

The two leaders then proceeded to a meeting that lasted for about 45 minutes.

This was the first face-to-face meeting between the two.

Anwar pays a courtesy call on Xi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on March 31, 2023. – SADIQ ASYRAF/Prime Minister’s Office of MalaysiaAnwar pays a courtesy call on Xi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on March 31, 2023. – SADIQ ASYRAF/Prime Minister’s Office of Malaysia

In his brief welcoming remarks, Xi said he appreciated the fact that despite observing the holy month of Ramadan, the Malaysian Prime Minister had accepted his invitation to visit China.

Xi said he also took note of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between both nations this year and the 50th anniversary of the Malaysia-China diplomatic relationship next year.

Hence, he said it is hoped that under Anwar's leadership, Malaysia and China will work more closely together to bring the relationship to greater heights.

Xi said both countries have also agreed to build a China-Malaysia community with a shared future.

"This bilateral relationship is a new historical starting point," he said.

Meanwhile, Anwar in his introductory remarks said the Government and the people of Malaysia highly value the existing relationship with China.

"I can't express how glad I am to be here. My visit here is also being monitored closely with much affection by many Malaysians," he said.

The Prime Minister also expressed his respect for Xi, for his visionary leadership, ideas and efforts in reforming China and bringing the country up to greater heights.

"You are a visionary, you are a statesman, you talk about security, economics and civilisations.

"On a personal level, President Xi, you have not only changed the course of China but also given a ray of hope to the world and mankind, with the visions that extend beyond China, into the region and the world," Anwar said. – Bernama

Ringgit ends higher against greenback amid market volatility


KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit ended the final day of the week on a higher note against the US dollar today amid volatility in the foreign exchange market.

At 6pm, the local currency ticked up to 4.4130/4.4175 versus the greenback compared with yesterday’s closing rate of 4.4185/4.4225.

Bank Muamalat Malaysia chief economist Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said ahead of the release of the US core personal consumption expenditure data later today, the markets have come out of a period where risk-off mode was prevalent in the wake of the bank crisis in the US along with heightening concern over major banks in Europe.

“The backstop measures provided by the Federal Reserve as well as the willingness of other private banks to take over the affected financial institutions have managed to calm the markets,” he told Bernama.

Back home, the ringgit traded mostly lower against a basket of major currencies.

It rose against the Japanese yen to 3.3083/3.3122 compared with 3.3282/3.3315 at Thursday’s close, but dropped versus the British pound to 5.4580/5.4636 from 5.4533/5.4582 yesterday and declined vis-a-vis the euro to 4.8036/4.8084 from 4.7985/4.8028.

The ringgit traded mixed against Asean currencies.

It was firmer versus the Singapore dollar at 3.3185/3.3224 compared with 3.3244/3.3279 at yesterday’s close and flat vis-a-vis the Philippine peso at 8.12/8.13 from 8.12/8.13 previously.

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The local currency depreciated versus the Indonesian rupiah to 294.20/294.70 from 293.60/294.00 at Thursday’s close and weakened against the Thai baht to 12.9031/12.9220 from 12.8970/12.9147 yesterday. - FMT

Tak guna 1 sen pun dana awam, kata Wee berkait lawatan ke China


Wee Ka Siong berkata, beliau dipelawa menyertai lawatan rasmi perdana menteri ke Beijing.

PETALING JAYA: Presiden MCA, Wee Ka Siong menafikan dakwaan seorang wakil rakyat DAP berhubung penyalahgunaan dana awam ketika menyertai lawatan rasmi Perdana Menteri, Anwar Ibrahim ke Beijing.

Beliau merujuk dakwaan Adun Bandar Baru Klang, Teng Chang Khim semalam berhubung penyalahgunaan dana awam kerana beliau turut serta dalam lawatan rasmi perdana menteri itu.

Teng berkata, lawatan ke China adalah aktiviti diplomatik antara dua negara yang diketuai perdana menteri, tetapi lawatan kehormat ke Jabatan Perhubungan Antarabangsa Jawatankuasa Pusat Parti Komunis China (IDCPC) adalah aktiviti antara parti politik, bukannya aktiviti rasmi, justeru ia merupakan penyalahgunaan dana awam.

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“Untuk makluman, saya dijemput menyertai perdana menteri dalam lawatan rasminya ke Beijing. Manakala perbelanjaan adalah ditanggung saya sendiri.

“Ditegaskan, tiada satu sen pun wang rakyat digunakan,” kata Wee di Facebook.

Wee berkata, pihaknya sudah lama mengatur pertemuan dengan menteri di IDCPC dan pertemuan kali ini bertujuan mempromosikan hubungan dua hala.

“Kami berharap melalui sesi dialog dan interaksi mengenai pembangunan negara, kita akan dapat mengukuhkan lagi hubungan, yang merupakan objektif lawatan ini.”

Katanya, pemimpin MCA lain yang menyertai lawatan rasmi itu turut mengeluarkan perbelanjaan sendiri, bukannya menggunakan dana awam.

“Kenapa Teng Chang Khim melakukan serangan yang begitu keji, sedangkan kami berhak melakukan kunjungan hormat tersebut?

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“Dakwaan yang mengatakan kami menyalahgunakan wang awam atau ditaja oleh agensi kerajaan adalah tuduhan tidak berasas dan tidak benar sama sekali,” katanya sambil menambah pemimpin DAP itu sewajarnya mendapatkan pengesahan sebelum melemparkan tuduhan. - FMT

Aide says caterer told him ministry objected to Sanusi event


Hilmi Wahab, an aide to Sanusi Nor, said the state government had paid an undisclosed sum to rent the hall at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang.

PETALING JAYA: An aide to Kedah menteri besar Sanusi Nor accused agriculture and food security minister Mohamad Sabu of lying when denying allegations that Putrajaya had disallowed a “buka puasa” event by the state government from being held.

Hilmi Wahab claimed that the directive to not green light the event came from the “ministerial level”, which was conveyed to him through a caterer.

“It is clear that Mat Sabu was lying when he said his ministry was not involved in preventing the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) from renting a hall to the Kedah government,” he said in a statement.

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Hilmi, who is Sanusi’s political secretary, said he had made arrangements to rent the hall for the event.

He said he had gone to check the venue on March 23 before agreeing on the rent for the hall, and a RM70,000 fee to hire a caterer.

Hilmi said the caterer sent a message a week later saying the event was a no-go since the ministry had objected to it.

Last night, Mohamad said he was puzzled by Sanusi’s claim that his ministry had prevented the event when MAEPS had yet to approve the application.

Mohamad said this in response to Sanusi’s claim that the ministry had revoked the approval.

Sanusi then said the event will proceed but will be held in Kuala Lumpur instead.

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Mohamad said since Sanusi announced that the “buka puasa” event would be held at another venue, the ministry considered that the one planned at MAEPS had been cancelled.

He also said that a similar programme by the PAS-led Terengganu government had been organised at MAEPS without any issue.

FMT has contacted Mohamad and the ministry’s office for comment. - FMT

I don’t support Rauf as CM, says Umno man


Rembia assemblyman Jailani Khamis said BN had broken one of the pledges it made during the 2021 Melaka state elections.

PETALING JAYA: Umno’s Rembia assemblyman Jailani Khamis says he does not support Ab Rauf Yusoh as the Melaka chief minister.

Jailani, a former executive councillor, said Barisan Nasional and Umno had effectively broken one of the election pledges made during the 2021 state election with Rauf’s appointment.

Jailani said the coalition had pledged that its chief minister candidate for the polls, Sulaiman Ali, would remain in the post till the end of his term.

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“The manifesto is our pledge to the people, particularly Malaccans. The swearing-in of the new chief minister today means that BN and Umno have broken one of our key pledges during the state elections.

“I want to inform the people of Melaka that I have no part in this. In fact, I oppose it. As a Muslim, promises must be kept,” he said.

Rauf, assemblyman for Tanjung Bidara, was sworn in as Melaka’s 13th chief minister this afternoon. He succeeds Sulaiman, who resigned yesterday while serving a second stint as chief minister from November 2021.

Is health the real reason, says Aleef

Sulaiman was urged by another assemblyman, Dr Aleef Yusof (Bersatu-Sungai Udang), to reveal whether health issues were really why he had resigned from the post.

Aleef said Sulaiman had seemed perfectly healthy when met at the Melaka state assembly.

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He called for the “real motive” of Sulaiman’s resignation to be revealed. He said Umno should realise that the change in chief minister would spark the wrath of voters who had wanted stability when voting for BN in 2021.

Jailani, a two-term assemblyman for Rembia, was formerly with PKR. He was sacked by the party following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan Melaka state government in 2020.

He then joined Umno and defended his seat, winning with an 860-vote majority in the 2021 state polls.

He served as executive councillor for tourism, heritage and culture in Sulaiman’s government. - FMT

Vape liquids to be taxed, exempted from poison control


Liquid and gel nicotine, used in e-cigarettes or vaping, will now be taxed.

PETALING JAYA: The government has cleared the way to impose excise duty on over-the-counter sales of vape liquids used for e-cigarettes and nicotine patches to help stop smoking.

A gazette notification published by the health ministry today said liquid and gel nicotine were now exempted from provisions of the Poisons Act.

Nicotine, with the exception of tobacco, had been classified as a Group C poison which could only be dispensed by doctors and pharmacists.

The exemption also applies to nicotine patches or gum, which are registered under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations.

In a separate announcement, Prime Minister and finance minister Anwar Ibrahim said the liquid and gel nicotine used for e-cigarettes would now be taxed at RM0.40 sen per millilitre.

The granting of the exemption comes after health professionals urged the government against exempting liquid and gel nicotine from poisons control, as it may lead to more people using e-cigarettes and vape, including children.

Malaysian Pharmacists Society president Amhari Buang said nicotine is highly addictive and quoted studies that have shown it is linked to increased risks of cardiovascular diseases and cancers.

Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said the exemption from poisons control would lead to uncontrolled sales of e-cigarettes and vape with no prohibition against selling to minors. - FMT

Appoint health sec-gen immediately, MMA tells govt


MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said the health ministry needs a secretary-general to help it navigate all the urgent challenges it is facing. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has urged the health ministry to immediately fill its vacant secretary-general position.

MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said it was concerned that former secretary-general Harjeet Singh, who retired on Feb 28, had not been replaced.

“It is indeed of great concern that at this time when the health ministry is faced with all sorts of challenges, there is no secretary-general.”

He said these challenges included the contract doctor issue, a possible strike by contract medical officers, Pharmaniaga Bhd’s financial woes and overcrowding at public healthcare facilities.

“We believe this key position should be filled soon as there are already many young and capable candidates suitable for the job,” Muruga said in a statement today.

A group known as “Mogok Doktor Malaysia” has claimed that 8,000 contract doctors would take part in a strike next month and also threatened that these healthcare workers would resign en masse.

The group said those on strike would take emergency or medical leave from April 3 to April 5 as a sign of protest.

At the same time, Pharmaniaga, the concession holder for the provision of medicines and medical supplies to government hospitals and clinics, has not paid some of its suppliers.

The group had also fallen under the PN17 classification for companies in distress after it recorded its largest quarterly net loss of RM664.39 million in the fourth quarter ending Dec 31, 2022. - FMT

Pharmaniaga woes won’t affect drug supplies, says minister


Pharmaceutical companies have said there was unease over Pharmaniaga’s ability to pay its suppliers for their medicines.

PETALING JAYA: Health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa has assured the public that drug supplies to hospitals and clinics will not be affected by the financial problems of pharmaceuticals supplier Pharmaniaga Bhd.

She said the company had given a commitment that its subsidiary Pharmaniaga Logistic would continue to supply more than 700 drugs and other products and that the subsidiary would “continue to be strong and competitive”.

Pharmaniaga Logistic is the concessionaire appointed by the government to supply drugs and other products.

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Zaliha said the Malaysian Organisation of Pharmaceutical Industries and the Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia had also given their assurance that they would cooperate to ensure that supplies will not be affected.

The two organisations had held a meeting with Pharmaniaga today. Zaleha said Pharmaniga provided an update on the group’s current situation as well as the delay in payments to its vendor.

Last month, the stock exchange classified Pharmaniaga as a PN17 company, denoting it is undergoing financial distress. The company posted a net loss of RM664.39 million in the fourth quarter of its 2022 financial year, and had to make provision for the amount of RM552.3 million on unsold Covid-19 vaccines in stock.

Last week, the pharmaceutical association’s executive director Chan Li Jin said Pharmaniaga’s financial situation had created unease over its ability to pay pharmaceutical companies for their medicines.

Yesterday, Pharmaniga assured its suppliers that unexpected delays in payments will be resolved soon. - FMT