Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Goodness, it's NOT China illegally occupying Syria

Military Watch:

U.S. Sends 100 Vehicles to Reinforce Syria Occupation: Presence Remains Illegal and Opposed By Damascus

U.S. Army Convoy in Syria

The U.S. Military has deployed two convoys of around 60 and 40 vehicles into Syria across the country’s eastern border, which reinforce a U.S.-led occupation of the country’s oil rich regions.

The convoys included several armoured vehicles. U.S. forces in Syria deploy M1 Abrams and M2 Bradley armoured combat vehicles, and have frequently clashed with Syrian government forces and government-aligned militias.

The U.S. military presence is considered illegal as it is opposed by Damascus and lacks United Nations Security Council authorisation.

It has involved illegally appropriating Syrian oil which American sources claim finance Western-aligned militias supporting its presence. Alongside U.S. forces, special forces from France, Britain and Norway have also deployed in supporting roles to further Western objectives there.

U.S. Army Ground Forces in Syria

Military deployments and associated oil appropriation, paired with Western economic sanctions, have been intended to place pressure on the Syrian government which has been a longstanding Western adversary since the early years of the Cold War.

With the majority of the country under government control, however, and with Western-backed insurgents across the large majority of the country having been defeated by 2019, Syria has proceeded with reconstruction with support from non-Western countries most notably China and Russia.

The strengthening of the U.S. presence in the northeast of the country, however, may be in preparation for placing further pressure on Damascus or carrying out additional operations. Although the U.S. presence in Syria is not large, it is supported by a network of bases across the Middle East and a range of naval assets able to quickly provide backing in case the occupation is challenged.

Ketum industry can rake in high profits for economic growth: Shamsul Iskandar


Ketum industry can rake in high profits for economic growth: Shamsul Iskandar

MP says govt should develop it as product, herbal plant for large market in rural areas

Ketum is a plant in the coffee family historically used in herbal medicine, indigenous to several countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. – The Vibes file pic, November 29, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR – Besides keeping consumers in high spirits, ketum will also be able to churn in high economic profits.

This is because the ketum industry, if properly developed, has the potential to aid economic progress, according to Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin (Hang Tuah Jaya-PH).

Ketum – or its scientific name, Mitragyna speciosa – is a plant in the coffee family historically used in herbal medicine. It is indigenous to several countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea.

“The government should develop ketum as a product and herbal plant, as there is an especially large market for the product in rural areas,” Shamsul said while debating Budget 2022 at the Dewan Rakyat today.

“Even our neighbouring country Thailand has removed ketum from its list of narcotic substances.

“I have watched interviews with researchers from Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) on the topic of ketum, so I believe that we have the capability to better develop the industry.”

Shamsul called on the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry to detail the future of the nation’s ketum programmes.

Earlier, he had questioned the government’s plans to advance hemp products, with the allocation of RM61.3 million provided to FRIM under Budget 2022.

“Have the endeavours of FRIM to develop hemp products been postponed, or are efforts still ongoing?” he queried, emphasising the vitality of medical hemp from an economic perspective as it can be used as a product for economic gain.

In August this year, former deputy agriculture and agro-based industry minister Sim Tze Tzin said while Malaysia might face no issue in emulating Thailand, the government must also address the abuse of the plant by those who turn it into ketum water, which is addictive.

He was commenting on a statement released by Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Zahidi Zainul Abidin, who urged the federal government to legalise the commercial cultivation of ketum plants. – The Vibes, November 29, 2021

Najib: I don’t want anything anymore because you (Mahathir) keep whining


Mahathir, Najib tussle over Langkawi land leased to former

Datuk Seri Najib Razak brings up ‘crazy cheap’ land deal that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad received

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad maintains that nothing was given to him for free as a gift by the federal or a state government. – The Vibes file pic, November 30, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR – The war of words between Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad continues over the issue of remuneration accorded to former prime ministers.

Mere hours after Dr Mahathir posted on his Facebook explaining a land plot that was leased to him in Langkawi in 2014, Najib uploaded a post of his own, taking a dig at the nonagenarian over what he claims is a “crazy cheap” deal offered to the former.

In his posting, Dr Mahathir said that while he took the lease in Langkawi, he did not get it for free or at a discounted rate.

He said this is unlike the case with Najib, who had requested the government award him with a luxurious property valued around RM100 million, before withdrawing the request.

“I admit I leased a plot of land (from Langkawi Development Authority or Lada). Leased, not requested. And I didn’t get it for free. I also bought two plots of land in Langkawi after retirement.

“Nothing was given to me for free as a gift by the federal or state government. Instead, the lease was increased many times over until I returned the land to Lada,” he said.

Najib responded by saying that the RM3,200 lease per month for the 34-acre land in Langkawi given to Dr Mahathir in 2014 was set up when the latter was Lada adviser and his son, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, was the Kedah menteri besar and executive councillor in charge of land.

The Pekan MP went on to point out that he only requested for a personal residence in his capacity as a former prime minister under a provision that was passed by Mahathir himself.

“I made the request when I was no longer the prime minister or part of the government, and my children are not chief minister or menteri besar for any state.

“There is no act that says a father can be offered government land with a harga murah giler (crazy cheap price) by his own son’s government like in the case of the Langkawi land.

“My office only asked for a residence in 2018 after the 14th general election. I did not breach any law.”

Najib also said he has since withdrawn his request and urged the government to sell the land, which is valued at RM100 million, and disburse the proceeds to the needy.

“What did I get after serving nine years as prime minister and increasing the country’s savings from RM800 billion to RM2 trillion?

“Even the RM642 million I received from Arab Saudi personally, as has been proven in the court, I have given it fully for people’s programmes. I didn’t use it for personal use. I don’t want anything anymore because you (Mahathir) keep whining,” he said. – The Vibes, November 30, 2021

Former physical education teacher accused of rape jokes sues student Ain for alleged defamation


Former physical education teacher accused of rape jokes sues student Ain for alleged defamation

Saiful Nizam Abdul Wahab and daughter Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam pose for a picture during an interview with Malay Mail in Puncak Alam April 30, 2021. Both Ain and her father were named as the defendants. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 — Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam has received writ of summons and statement of claim from the teacher who was accused of making rape jokes in class, her father has confirmed today.

Saiful Nizam Abdul Wahab said that the man named Khairul Nizam Sanuddin, who formerly taught physical and health education in SMK Puncak Alam, filed the lawsuit at the Shah Alam Sessions court on November 26.

Both Ain and her father were named as the defendants.

He also confirmed to Malay Mail that this is the first time that the teacher is publicly named.

Previously in August, the same teacher had sent a letter of demand to Ain seeking RM1 million as compensation for alleged defamation.

Shortly after that, Ain’s lawyer Datuk David Sankara Nair said the family will countersue the man for RM5 million for emotional distress.

In May, it was reported that the then unnamed teacher was transferred to the Selangor Education Department pending a police investigation.

But the deputy public prosecutor later decided that no further action will be taken against the man.

Ain put a spotlight on sex education and systemic misogyny in public schools in April after complaining on TikTok that a teacher had joked about rape, sparking a nationwide debate and prompting others girls and women to share similar experiences.

The issue had started a Twitter Hashtag #MakeSchoolASaferPlace that set Twitter abuzz and appeared among the top 10 trending topics in the country — with even celebrities sharing their personal stories of sexual harassment.

Her original post on Twitter was accompanied by the hashtag #MakeSchoolASaferPlace, in which she called out public figures such as former education minister Maszlee Malik, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, cartoonist Zunar, and celebrity actress and singer Adibah Noor, to support the cause.

Aside from the male teacher, Ain also lodged two police reports against school mates for threatening her with rape following her expose. She later withdrew this after the students and their families apologised.

Ain also received uncouth comments from the Facebook account of SMK Puncak Alam principal Sarimah Mohamed Nor (named “Aimanaizah Sarimahmohamednor”) who labelled Ain “hypocrite”, “Satan’s spawn wearing headscarves”, and told Ain’s parents to “educate her with manners”.

She has since transferred to Cempaka School Cheras which has been supportive of her cause.

Guan Eng graft trial: Defence argues deceased witness' statement ‘fabricated’ - Can a dead man talk?

Guan Eng graft trial: Defence argues deceased witness' statement ‘fabricated’

The MACC statement purportedly given by the late Ewe Swee Kheng in relation to Lim Guan Eng’s Penang Undersea Tunnel corruption case is “fabricated”, the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court heard today.

The former Penang chief minister’s defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo contended that this is because the MACC’s recorded statement dated Aug 14 this year, did not comply with Section 30 (8) of the MACC Act.

The lawyer said this is because Section 30 (8) requires every part of the statement recorded by the MACC officer from Ewe to be in writing.

Referring to the part of the statement purportedly recorded from Ewe by MACC at the graft buster’s Penang state headquarters, Gobind questioned why certain parts of the statement were in handwriting and other parts in a computerised format.

The lawyer questioned the suspicious circumstances surrounding the matter, whereby the first three statements separately recorded by MACC from Ewe last year seemed to “exonerate” Lim, but the fourth one recorded this year however seemed to implicate the accused.

“The only implication here is it (statement purportedly recorded by MACC from Ewe) is a fabrication,” Gobind said, applying for the court to not allow all four statements to be admitted as evidence.

The prosecution today is seeking to tender as evidence the statement that the MACC purportedly recorded from Ewe in order to bolster its case in former finance minister Lim’s graft case linked to the Penang Undersea Tunnel project.

It was reported that Ewe, the founder of Ewein Berhad and one of the prosecution’s key witnesses, passed away following a fall from a high-end condominium at Jalan Kelawai, Penang, in the early hours of Oct 5.

During proceedings before judge Azura Alwi today, deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin argued that the MACC statements are legally admissible as evidence.

The DPP contended that this is because the defence failed to challenge the portion of the MACC recorded statements that state Ewe was not compelled to give the statements.

“My learned friend (Gobind) failed to challenge page five (of the MACC recorded statement) that the late witness (Ewe) was not forced (to give the statements) and was telling the truth to the MACC,” Wan Shaharuddin told the court.

Azura then fixed Dec 13 for a decision on the prosecution’s application to tender the MACC statements.

The ongoing trial before the lower court is in relation to the four graft charges against Lim.

One charge, framed under Section 16(A)(a) and Section 23 of the MACC Act, accuses him of using his position as then Penang chief minister for the gratification of RM3.3 million as inducement for helping a company belonging to Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli to secure the island state’s RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project.

Zarul is a senior executive director of Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd, the main contractor for the undersea tunnel project.

The offence was allegedly perpetrated at the Penang Chief Minister's Office, 28th Floor, Komtar, George Town, Penang, between January 2011 and August 2017.

Under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act, the offence is punishable with imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

The second charge, also under Section 16(A)(a), accused Lim, in his capacity as the then Penang chief minister, to have solicited from Zarul bribes amounting to 10 percent of the profits to be earned by the company as gratification for helping secure the project.

The offence was allegedly committed near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur, between 12.30am and 2am in March 2011.

The charge, framed under Section 16 of the MACC Act, provides for imprisonment for up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

The Bagan MP also faces two counts of causing two plots of land, worth RM208.8 million and belonging to the Penang government, to be disposed of to two companies allegedly linked to the undersea tunnel project.

The two charges, framed under Section 403 of the Penal Code, carry imprisonment of up to five years, whipping and a fine.

The offences were allegedly committed at the Penang Land and Mines Office, Level 21, Komtar, between Feb 17, 2015, and March 22, 2017.

Daggers out for Ismail Sabri in Bersatu propaganda machine, claims Najib

Daggers out for Ismail Sabri in Bersatu propaganda machine, claims Najib

The Bersatu propaganda machine is moving against Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob (above) who is from Umno, claims BN advisory board chairperson Najib Abdul Razak.

He said they are blaming Ismail Sabri for the rising price of goods when it is Bersatu ministers who are in charge of ministries that are in charge of such items.

"Bersatu-PN propaganda pages (on Facebook) such as Otai have begun relentless attacks against Ismail.

"The main issue they are using is the rising price of goods even though inflation has started to spike and prices often hit record highs when (Bersatu president) Muhyiddin Yassin was still the prime minister," Najib said on Facebook.

However, Najib indicated that it was Bersatu ministers who have failed to act in controlling the prices of goods.

"The ministers in Ismail Sabri's government who are in charge of the economy, agriculture, finance, and plantations which can influence the price of goods particularly food items come from the same party that wants to topple him.

"They attack Ismail Sabri for the rising price of goods but they are the ones responsible for the policies that led to the rising price of goods," he said.

Mustapa Mohamed is the minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of the economy, Ronald Kiandee is the agriculture and food industries minister while Zuraida Kamaruddin is the plantation industries and commodities minister.

Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, who does not have a party, is the finance minister. He is known to be close to Muhyiddin.

Muhyiddin was ousted as prime minister in August after a group of 15 Umno MPs, including Najib, withdrew their support for him, paving the way for Ismail Sabri to replace him.

Bersatu has said that they will work towards restoring Muhyiddin as the prime minister.

Penang deserves 5 times more in budget allocations, says CM

Penang deserves 5 times more in budget allocations, says CM

Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow (front) leaving the state assembly during a break. (CM’s office pic)

GEORGE TOWN: Penang should be getting at least RM5 billion in funding compared to RM996 million under Budget 2022.

Chief minister Chow Kon Yeow said given the state’s gross domestic product of 6.7% to 6.9% in the past three years, Penang deserves “about RM5.2 billion” in allocations.

He said the RM996 million allocated in next year’s budget only prioritised the economic and social sectors.

Speaking in the state assembly, Chow said the state government has yet to receive the list of approved projects under the federal budget.

“We have often argued about unfair allocations to Penang. In the recent conference of menteris besar and chief ministers, I argued that we have not got our share. I have asked the international trade and industry minister to look at Penang,” he said.

He said while some states such as Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak might require more allocations, Penang should “reap what it sowed”.

Chow said that given Penang’s role in gaining surplus for the country through its extensive manufacturing industry, Putrajaya should allocate more funds for development.

He gave the example of a new Batu Kawan industrial park development being planned, which required supporting infrastructure.

“We need infrastructure for land readiness in meeting investor demand. All we ask is for a fair allocation.

“You can’t expect a horse to continue running on empty,” he said, quoting a Chinese proverb.

Chow was responding to an oral question by Satees Muniandy (PH-Bagan Dalam), who had asked about federal budget allocations to the state.

PAS should prioritise anti-incest, anti paedophilia, anti-child marriages


PAS lawmaker wants Putrajaya to curb LGBTQ shows on Netflix, but minister says not possible

Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa told the Dewan Rakyat this morning that streaming service providers like Netflix have a parental guidance ratings system in place, and that regulation can be made voluntarily. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 ― A PAS federal lawmaker has asked the government to censor LGBTQ shows or “sexual content” aired by streaming service provider Netflix.

Dungun Member of Parliament Wan Hassan Mohd Ramli raised the matter during Question Time this morning. PAS has long fought for strict punishment against the LGBTQ community, and have pushed for laws to “ban” them.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa replied by acknowledging concerns about the absence of censorship for shows aired on Netflix, but said Malaysian authorities are powerless to regulate content streamed from abroad.

“To answer your question, we have to admit that we face difficulty (to regulate) streaming services including Netflix,” Annuar said.

“Netflix is an over-the-top service provider that streams internet-based multimedia content from abroad and many of the service providers are difficult to be regulated fully,” he added.

Conservatives have long sought to censor the internet, claiming the platform promotes immoral behaviour if not regulated. Rights groups have responded by warning that internet censorship would curb free expression and silence dissent.

Past administrations have so far refused to cave in, but often on technical grounds.

Annuar’s predecessor, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah, had vowed that no attempt to censor the internet would succeed under his watch.

Annuar made no such pledge today, but told the Dewan Rakyat this morning that streaming service providers like Netflix have a parental guidance ratings system in place, and that regulation can be made voluntarily.

Chunky Chubby C11byebye Fei-lo did not officially ask Penang for RM100m 'lease payment'


Kedah MB did not officially ask Penang for RM100m 'lease payment', says Chow

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow says Kedah MB Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor did not submit an official request for the RM100 million he demanded as ‘lease payment’ from Penang as reported. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 30 ― Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor did not submit an official request for the RM100 million he demanded as “lease payment” from Penang as reported, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

Chow told the state legislative assembly that Sanusi did not bring up the issue during the chief ministers and mentris besar meeting chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob recently.

“Sanusi did not say anything during the meeting which is an official platform for him to raise this matter but it looks like he only dared to raise this issue through the media,” Chow said.

He said if the Kedah MB were serious about demanding the RM100 million per annum in “lease payment”, he should have officially submitted a written request to the federal government.

Chow said this when replying to a question by Lee Khai Loon (PKR-Machang Bubuk) on whether Kedah has submitted an official demand for the “lease payment” from Penang through official platforms or during the recent meeting between state leaders and the federal government.

Sanusi reportedly told the media that Kedah should be paid RM100 million per year as “lease payment” for Penang island and Seberang Perai.

Chow said at the time that Putrajaya need not entertain Kedah's demands.

The federal government had previously paid an honorarium of RM10,000 per year before it was raised to RM10 million a year by the federal government in 2018.

Chow today pointed out that both the federal and state constitutions clearly stated that Penang is a sovereign state under the Federation of Malaysia.

“Therefore, there is no need for Penang to entertain any such demands from Kedah,” he said.

He is certain that everyone in Penang will support him in defending Penang's sovereignty.

As for claims that Penang belonged to Kedah, Chow said the legal aspects of this matter should be thoroughly studied so as not to cause any more unnecessary confusion and anxiety among the people of Kedah and Penang.

A lecture on language isn’t what Malaysia needs, PM told

A lecture on language isn’t what Malaysia needs, PM told

Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim says prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob should focus on larger issues.

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob should speak on issues that affect the nation rather than lecture the people on the use of Bahasa Melayu in the workplace, says a former minister.

“Our national language is important, but this is an old issue and these are modern times where the use of English is common as the international language,” said Zaid Ibrahim.

“He should not be lecturing or reprimanding anyone. He should be using every opportunity he has to address the public to talk about the big issues such as labour, the cost of living, the economy and the health crisis,” he told FMT.

Zaid, a former law minister, was commenting on reports that Ismail had reprimanded government agencies, government-linked companies and the private sector for prioritising the use of English over Bahasa Melayu at their events, meetings, and conferences, and on their products.

Ismail told these agencies and firms to use Bahasa Melayu widely in programmes organised by them, Bernama reported.

Zaid said Malaysians do use Bahasa Melayu but also other languages when they have to, and there was no need for Ismail to be “sentimental” over the language.

“Enough of all this. People are suffering. There is no need to redirect everyone’s attention. Tell us your plans or your stand on important issues. That is what the people and the market want to hear,” he said.

5% oil royalty, Hatyai Peace Accord, PH Manifesto, Handover to AI - all broken to smithereens by one dishonourable underhanded MF-er

5% oil royalty is the agreement, not ‘wang ehsan’, says Ku Li

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said it showed that the federal government “couldn’t give two hoots” to an agreement signed by a sovereign state within the federation of Malaysia, which could deter foreign investors.

KUALA LUMPUR: There is no such thing as the payment of “wang ehsan” (compassionate money) to states under the Petroleum Development Act, says Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, founding chairman of Petronas.

The veteran politician said the agreement between Petronas and the respective state governments was for the oil company to pay the states 5% in cash payments in exchange for them vesting their hydrocarbon or oil and gas rights in Petronas.

There was no mention of any wang ehsan in the Act’s vesting deed, he maintained, while the 5% figure came out of calculations performed by former Sarawak chief minister Abdul Rahman Ya’kub, which was jointly agreed upon by the states and Petronas.

“Under the Petroleum Development Act and the vesting deed that is part of the Act, there’s no way you can pay what you call wang ehsan, because there’s no provision for that under the law.

“The agreement was between the respective state governments in Malaysia with Petronas, it’s not an agreement between the respective state governments and the federal government,” he said in an interview with FMT.

Tengku Razaleigh, familiarly known as Ku Li, said finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz might not have been briefed thoroughly on the law, as far as the relationship between states and Petronas is concerned.

He said Petronas was duty-bound to pay 5% to each state within the federation in exchange for the vesting of their oil and gas rights.

“(Rahman) was the man who offered this formula so that we can put all the oil resources of the country into Petronas, a single organisation, belonging to Malaysians, and not to any state or any entity.

“And that was a simple calculation. Out of that money that is placed in Petronas, after all costs have been taken care of, Petronas then pays 5% to each state as cash payment yearly. There was no quibble about it.”

Tengku Zafrul recently said Putrajaya would not pay oil royalty to any state in Peninsular Malaysia, including Kelantan, which will instead continue to receive wang ehsan for petroleum produced off its coast.

This was met with disappointment by the Kelantan state government, with deputy menteri besar Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah expressing shock at the finance minister’s statement.

The beginning of ‘wang ehsan’

Tengku Razaleigh said the payments of wang ehsan first began “out of the blue” when the Dr Mahathir Mohamad government decided not to continue paying the 5% royalty to Terengganu after PAS took over the state government in the late 1990s.

“The leadership of Umno decided that we won’t pay them for fear they might use this money wrongly, and may even use it for political purposes,” he said. “That was the thinking anyway.”

However, the wang ehsan was totally different compared to the 5% cash payment, as it was difficult to ascertain the amount derived.

On the other hand, the 5% payments were based on Rahman’s formula which was agreed upon by the states and Petronas, he said.

“I went to every state to bring this draft vesting deed agreement to be examined by the respective state governments, because we wanted unity. And all the state governments took time to study it.

“Then I went to every state again to negotiate, not just with the chief minister or menteri besar, as the case may be, but with the exco members, and they were very happy to accept what was proposed by Sarawak.”

He maintained that he was not saying that the wang ehsan payments were bad or good, but that there was already an agreement between Petronas and the states which should be honoured by Putrajaya.

The former finance minister said it showed that the federal government “couldn’t give two hoots” to an agreement signed by a sovereign state within the federation of Malaysia, which could deter foreign investors.

Goading China to go to war over Taiwan

Goading China to go to war over Taiwan

From Chandra Muzaffar

A number of defence analysts are convinced that the United States, supported by Britain and Australia, is goading China to go to war over Taiwan. They point to constant statements by officials from the three countries pledging to come to Taiwan’s defence if it is attacked by China and the actual presence of US warships in the vicinity of the region as evidence of “an aggressive stance”. The game-plan of the US and its allies according to these observers is to create an atmosphere that will compel China to retaliate to these provocations and fire the first shot. The Western media which is already on their side will quickly brand China as the aggressor and mobilise global public opinion on behalf of the “victims of Chinese aggression”.

There are certain underlying motives that may tempt the US to pursue this game-plan. There are hawks in Washington and elsewhere who believe that a short, quick war against China at this stage will benefit the hegemon and its global agenda.

One, since the US is militarily stronger than China, a humiliating defeat for the latter will be a huge setback. At a time when the peaceful rise of China has made such an impact upon nations everywhere, a defeat will prove to all and sundry that the US is still the master of the planet.

Two, a US victory over China will undoubtedly strengthen the Taiwan independence movement and encourage the separatists to expand their activities and intensify their demand. This will impact adversely upon Chinese sovereignty and undermine its national resilience.

Three, a war over Taiwan will force China to divert its resources from much needed economic and social development to an unnecessary war on its doorstep. This diversion of resources will impede its progress. This is what the US and some of its allies would want to see.

China will not allow this to happen. The Chinese leadership has always been aware of the dire consequences of war and violence for the nation and the people. Yet it is deeply cognisant of the imperative necessity to defend its sovereignty and integrity as a nation and the dignity of its people. It will therefore respond to provocations by resorting to measures – various measures – which do not lead to violence and war. These could be political moves or diplomatic manoeuvres or even trade sanctions. But China will not yield to provocations. It will not succumb to threats or arrogant bullying.

The US leadership does not seem to understand this. For many decades now, US leaders and indeed, leaders of many other Western countries including Australia, do not seem to appreciate the importance of respect as a value in inter-state relations. Coercing or compelling a state to follow blindly one’s dictates is an example of a lack of respect for the other in international relations.

The controversy over Taiwan illustrates the point about respect in international relations. Taiwan is part of China. This is an indisputable historical fact. 180 countries in the world recognise this reality. Since 1979, the US government has acknowledged that there is only one China represented by Beijing. This is contained in documents such as the famous three joint communiques. Beijing has always objected to US officials sometimes treating Taiwan as if it were an independent, sovereign state. This is apparent not just in US-Taiwan military ties but also on occasions in politics and economics.

The time has come for the US’ friends in Asia to remind the US in a firm but courteous tone that living up to the One China policy is fundamental for the rest of the world in its relations to China. It is the deepest red line in our relations with China and will remain so for centuries to come. We must respect this line with a sincere heart. There must not be the slightest hint that the US or Britain or Australia or anyone else is trying to encourage separatist, anti-unification with China movements in Taiwan.

By advocating strict adherence to the ‘One China’ policy, we are not suggesting that we kowtow to Beijing in a servile manner.

If we have to disagree with Beijing on a matter of principle we should. For instance, many countries within Asean, are at odds with Beijing on Beijing’s claim that it has suzerainty over almost 85% of the area perceived as the South China Sea. Asean governments and indeed, Asean civil society groups as a whole should continue to reiterate our sovereign maritime rights over the South China Sea in accordance with our historical claims and international law. We should never cease to persuade the authorities in China to accept our legitimate demands.

In other words, we should ask China to respect our rights vis-à-vis the South China Sea just as we want the US to respect China’s position on Taiwan.

Chandra Muzaffar is the president of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST).

Sarawak elections: GPS’ Opposition to DAP puts Pakatan, PKR’s ambitions in a bind, suggest analysts


Sarawak elections: GPS’ Opposition to DAP puts Pakatan, PKR’s ambitions in a bind, suggest analysts

A boat crosses the Sarawak river near the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly building in Kuching, November 24, 2021. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 — Some political analysts said Pakatan Harapan (PH) may well come out of the 12th Sarawak state elections in December with nothing but the shirts on its backs at the rate things are going.

Universiti Sains Malaysia political science professor Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid said PH bringing up issues of corruption involving Barisan Nasional (BN) figures in Sarawak will likely not have as much traction with voters, unlike in Peninsular Malaysia.

He claimed this is because East Malaysians do not care about Peninsular-centric issues and most often scorn these politicians for only turning up during elections.

“So hopes are very dim that they could turn the tables against Sarawak's local leaders, what more if it concerns PBB (Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu) figures or even the governor himself and his family.

“They wouldn't want to risk being blocked from entering Sarawak again, as happened in the past. The grim reality of Sarawakian politics is that peninsula-based parties are never able to make much headway there.

“GPS not wanting to co-operate with DAP leaves PH in a permanent dilemma in Sarawak. It's possible to imagine a scenario of PKR again emerging from a state's elections with zero seats, while DAP maintains its urban Chinese-based strongholds,” Prof Fauzi said.

He also pointed to PH’s defeat in the Melaka state elections despite all the allegations surrounding Umno’s state chapter there as another clear indication.

Expressing similar sentiments, Senior Fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs Oh Ei Sun said Sarawak PKR has essentially been decimated after the departure of both Baru Bian and Larry Soon.

“Yet the state party still has the amazing guts of trying to contest many seats, even if coming up against their PH partner DAP. It would indeed be a miracle if they could somehow win a single seat with their disorganised party structure,” said Oh.

“DAP, in a similar vein, appears to be also embroiled in power struggles within the state party. However, as with Melaka, DAP even in its worst shape retains substantial support in the urban seats, which they are expected to once again win handsomely.

“It is mainly in the suburban seats where they might possibly run up against the increasingly formidable PSB (Parti Sarawak Bersatu), in addition to their traditional enemy SUPP (Sarawak United People’s Party).”

At the moment, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) are the front runners to win the upcoming elections. Led by Chief Minister Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg, the party said it is focused on stability which is in sharp contrast to the current political climate with party-hopping culture among politicians.

GPS is made up for PBB, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia geostrategist Prof Azmi Hassan said the main attraction for voters was Baru Bian who has moved to Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB).

The Ba'Kelalan state assemblyman was formerly from PKR and decided to switch allegiances during the Sheraton move.

“PKR will not only struggle to retain their existing three seats but win new seats as well. PH is disorganised and can’t come to terms which seats they will contest and are seemingly contesting against each other,” said Azmi.

At dissolution, PH only held five out of the 82 seats in the state assembly ― all of them by DAP.

It had previously held 10 seats after the 2016 state election (seven DAP and three PKR).

With rising airfares and people struggling financially, Azmin said voter turnout is a concern as well.

This is due to many East Malaysians currently working in Peninsular Malaysia, and flying home to vote may now be a luxury rather than a necessity.

“We don’t know the exact percentage of outstation voters in Melaka but if it’s around the 30 to 35 per cent mark, it will be similar in Sarawak.” where the voter turnout was 65 per cent,” he said.

“This is why it’s not too late for the Election Commission (EC) to allow postal voting so the percentages go higher. As for airfare even from Sabah to Sarawak it’s expensive so hopefully, the EC can look into this before December 19.”

“Sabahans and Sarawakians typically fly back for harvest festivals and Christmas. Now that the voting day is so close yet so far away from Christmas, it is simply economically infeasible for them to fly back specifically to cast the vote,” Oh added.

The Sarawak state elections has been fixed for December 18 with nominations on December 6 and early voting scheduled for December 14.

Polls were initially scheduled before the nationwide Emergency was declared from January 12 until August 1 to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

The state legislative assembly was due to dissolve automatically on June 7, with polls to have been held within 60 days according to the state constitution.

On July 31, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong proclaimed a fresh Emergency for Sarawak from August 2 until February 2, 2022, to further suspend the state election due to the Covid-19 threat.

However, the Agong consented to terminating the statewide Emergency on November 3 with the state assembly simultaneously dissolved, paving the way for the state election to be called.

Monday, November 29, 2021

A Case For Terengganu, Kelantan, Sabah, And Sarawak To Leave Malaysia


A Case For Terengganu, Kelantan, Sabah, And Sarawak To Leave Malaysia

By Raja Petra Kamarudin

As Wang Ehsan, Petronas did not need to hand the money to the Terengganu State Government. Instead, the money was given to Umno Terengganu, and Idris Jusoh was put in charge of managing that money. The money was then syphoned out through so-called ‘projects’.

When Malaya, and then Malaysia, was formed, it was agreed that the federalisation of the Malay States would not infringe on certain state rights. The powers of the Federal Government would include security, defence, foreign relations, taxation, and so on. Matters involving Malay customs and traditions, the Palace, religion, natural resources, etc., would remain under the powers and authority of the States.

A country’s territorial water is 12 miles while the exclusive economic zone is 200 nautical miles (370.4 km or 230.2 miles). And that is one reason why Singapore is reclaiming the sea. The more Singapore juts out to sea, the more waters they own. And anything in the waters (plus anything below and above the reclaimed land) belongs to Singapore.

When they discovered oil in the South China Sea in the early 1970s (at that time Tun Razak Hussein was the Prime Minister), they faced a dilemma. The oil was off the coast of Terengganu and Kelantan. The oil may belong to Malaysia, but then it is off Terengganu and Kelantan and is a natural resource. So, under the Federation of Malaya/Malaysia agreement, the oil belongs to Terengganu and Kelantan.

But Tun Razak wanted to nationalise the oil. It was too much money to be given to the two poorest states in Malaysia (even Perlis was richer at that time). Tun Razak wanted the oil and gas wealth to belong to Malaysia with Terengganu and Kelantan receiving only a 5% ‘commission’.

READ MORE HERE: 5% oil royalty is the agreement, not ‘wang ehsan’, says Ku Li

Tun Razak asked Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to look into this matter, who in turn sought legal advice from Tun Salleh Abas.

To cut a long story short, Ku Li and Tun Salleh drafted the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) that was passed by Parliament in 1974. Under this PDA, oil and gas will be nationalised and the states (which by right owned 100% of the oil and gas) would be given a 5% commission. A national oil company would be formed to manage the oil and gas, which would be called Petronas.

All 13 of the states were asked to sign an Agreement with Petronas. There were some protests, but in the end all the states signed. Sabah held out till the end. Then a number of important people died in a mysterious plane crash and the government changed — and in the end, Sabah signed the Agreement as well.

Two years later, the states were made to sign a Supplementary Agreement that stipulated the 5% commission is to be called ‘Royalty’.

The states were never happy they were made to sign the Agreement with Petronas in 1974, or made to sign the Supplementary Agreement two years later. And they were even more unhappy that the Royalty is just 5% and not, say, 20% — when under the Federation Agreement it was supposed to be 100%.

This revocation of the 5% Royalty and converting it to ‘Wang Ehsan’ is grounds for Terengganu, Kelantan, Sabah, and Sarawak to question what the benefit of remaining in Malaysia is if the Federal Government does not respect the Federation Agreement and is violating the terms of the Agreement. As it is, Sabah and Sarawak are already questioning the breaches to the 18/20-Point Agreements.

This Wang Ehsan was a creation of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. In November 1999, Terengganu fell to PAS. So, suddenly RM800 million to RM1 billion a year is going to fall into the hands of PAS. Mahathir wanted to deny PAS this money. So he withdrew the Oil Royalty for Terengganu and converted it to Wang Ehsan.

As Wang Ehsan, Petronas did not need to hand the money to the Terengganu State Government. Instead, the money was given to Umno Terengganu, and Idris Jusoh was put in charge of managing that money. The money was then syphoned out through so-called ‘projects’.

Terengganu was told if they want back their Oil Royalty, they will need to kick PAS out and vote Umno back in as the government. In 2004, PAS was kicked out and Umno came back to power. But the Wang Ehsan was never changed back to Oil Royalty and Umno continued to enjoy the money, which actually belonged to the State Government, and hence to the rakyat of Terengganu.

Why didn’t Thomas take action on Zeti-Jho Low link, says MP

Why didn’t Thomas take action on Zeti-Jho Low link, says MP

Tommy Thomas should have taken action if he had known that Zeti Akhtar Aziz had ‘facilitated’ Jho Low, says Charles Santiago.

PETALING JAYA: Former Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas has been asked to explain his failure to act against then Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Zeti Akthar Aziz over the 1MDB scandal, when he claimed her involvement was “public knowledge”.

Klang MP Charles Santiago of DAP said there had always been questions about Zeti’s role in the scandal and that Thomas’s claim came as “no surprise”.

“The question that arises is why he (Thomas) did not act in the 20 months that he was the AG,” Santiago told FMT.

Thomas, in a recent interview, claimed that Zeti and her husband Tawfiq Ayman had “facilitated” fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low.

Zeti’s role in 1MDB came into question after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) revealed that a company in Singapore controlled by Tawfiq received at least RM65 million in 1MDB funds.

Singapore police were also reported to have informed BNM in 2015 and 2016 of suspicious transactions involving companies owned by Tawfiq, with the funds coming from accounts linked to Jho Low. Zeti was BNM governor at the time.

In the interview, Thomas claimed it was “public knowledge” that Zeti and Ayman had “facilitated” Jho Low, believed to be the mastermind of the 1MDB scandal.

“But I think when we were investigating 1MDB, and as I said, it gave rise to about seven or eight prosecutions against different parties. At that stage, the MACC (investigation) papers, at least to my knowledge, had not been completed on Zeti and all the others.

“So I never had the chance to look at those investigation papers,” he said in an interview on YouTube.

There have been growing calls recently for Zeti, a witness in the corruption trial of former prime minister Najib Razak on charges related to 1MDB, to break her silence on her family’s links to the scandal.

Food Prices Skyrocket – The Return Of Monopoly & Cartel Run By Rich UMNO Malay Elites To Profit From The People

Food Prices Skyrocket – The Return Of Monopoly & Cartel Run By Rich UMNO Malay Elites To Profit From The People

Exactly what has happened to the meat cartel scandal? First exposed in December last year, millions of Malaysian Muslims have consumed fake halal beef for the last 40 years. The scandal, involving agencies like the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department, Customs Department and Port Police, clearly was an example of powerful Malays cheating ordinary Malays.

It means from 1980 to 2020 – under Prime Ministers Mahathir Mohamad, Abdullah Badawi, Najib Razak and Muhyiddin Yassin – very powerful politicians and senior government officers, including those from JAKIM, were “business partners” of the cartel. Yet, after almost 1 year since the scandal was exposed, not a single Malay top gun has been sent to prison.

Today, a fifth Malay Prime Minister – Ismail Sabri – is running the country. But it appears the humiliating scandal is quietly being swept under the carpet. It has to be covered up because all the bad guys and crooks involved were UMNO Malays. And because all the Malay political parties – UMNO, Bersatu and PAS – are part of the government, it’s best to pretend nothing had happened.

But when a Chinese company, Winepak Corporation, produced award-winning “Timah Whisky” meant only for non-Muslim consumption, almost all the Malay politicians whined and bitched until foaming at the mouth that the whiskey would confuse the Muslims. Eating diseased non-halal horse and kangaroo meat seems more acceptable than “seeing” a product called “Timah Whisky”.

Rather than interfering with non-Muslim rights by stirring up racial and religion sentiments among the Malays against Timah Whisky, which should be celebrated instead as it will generate export revenue, the government should start worrying about food security and stop the practice of monopoly. The meat cartel scandal happened not only because of corruption, but due to monopoly.

From sugar to meat and from post office to national carmaker Proton, everything was being monopolized as part of the NEP (New Economic Policy) introduced after the 1969 racial riots. Before “Sugar King” Robert Kuok forced to sell his sugar business to Felda Group in 2009, the price of sugar was kept low and stable. When Syed Mokhtar Albukhary – an UMNO proxy – took over the sugar business, prices consistently rise.

Naturally, when wholesale sugar price increases, the food prices such as canned drinks, bread, biscuits and soya sauce also jump accordingly. Here’s a perspective of how the billionaire slaughtered the ordinary people through his almost total control of the distribution and sale of sugar – when the world price for sugar was only RM1.40 per kilogram, the retail price in Malaysia was set at RM2.90 per kg.

Not only Albukhary controls the sugar business, he also monopolizes the rice in the country when his company Tradewinds acquired Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas), the country’s sole rice importer. It was revealed that Bernas’ gross profit per month is about RM8.7 million, translating to RM104.4 million annually for doing nothing except arranging the import of rice.

Worse, the UMNO proxy got greedy when Bernas increased imports of cheap low-grade rice, causing small-scale rice millers to shut down. By systematically killing millers and paddy farmers, who happen to be ethnic Malay, instead of assisting them, the tycoon managed to maximize his profits. Do you know that about 90% of paddy farmers in Kedah, the nation’s rice bowl state, are in debt?

In 2018, it was revealed that 300,000 farmers in Kedah were drowning in debt due to shrinking incomes and increasing operating costs thanks to rice monopoly. The net income for an average farmer was only RM600 per month, forcing them to borrow to stay in business. To add salt to injury, some have to pay rent on the land because not all farmers own them.

Now, with UMNO returns to the driver seat, the old tactic of profiting from the poor people, especially the majority ethnic Malays, is back in business. Three days ago (Nov 25), local bread producer Gardenia Bakeries announced that it will raise prices for most of its products, ranging from 10 sen to 45 sen – effective December 1. Of course, Gardenia is owned by none other than Albukhary.

A loaf of Gardenia Original Classic 400g white bread will cost RM2.80 compares to the old price of RM2.50. The Gardenia Original Classic Jumbo 600g will cost RM4 instead of RM3.55, while a 400g loaf of Gardenia Bran & WheatGerm which is currently priced at RM2.50 will be increased to RM2.90. The local favourites such as Twiggies will jump from RM1.49 to RM1.80.

As usual, Gardenia claims that the prices increase is due to the hike in the cost of raw materials (flour, sugar, milk, whole wheat, cocoa powder, packaging and whatnot) and freight charges. Interestingly, Massimo bread owned by billionaire Robert Kuok appears to be immune to cost of raw materials as it has not announced any price hike.

This is not the first time Gardenia increased its prices. About a year ago (November 2020), it also announced new prices for several of its flavoured breads. The price had been raised between 5 and 20 sen effective December 2020. In Nov 2018, Gardenia also raised the prices of several of its best-known products, even though it had increased the prices of 18 of its products a year earlier in 2017.

Hilariously, when then-opposition UMNO and PAS Islamist party started a campaign in 2019 to boycott non-Muslim products, many gullible Malays foolishly swallowed the hook, line and sinker. The “Buy Muslim First” campaign argued that Malays must buy Gardenia bread, for example, because Syed Albukhary owns the company. Heck, they even proclaimed the UMNO proxy as the Malays’ saviour.

The same group of extremists and racists who supported buy Muslim first campaign, instead of educating people to buy lowest priced products, is today unimpressed with Gardenia’s price hikes. And it’s not hard to understand why. The price jump of bakeries came at a time when price skyrockets for essentials like fish, chicken, vegetables and whatnot.

At first, the fish prices jumped, followed by chicken. Then, the prices of vegetables suddenly skyrocket. Now the billionaire linked to UMNO who is allowed to monopolize almost everything in the country has increased the price of bread. Shortage of workers becomes the convenient excuse for the escalating fish prices. But did the manpower shortage happen overnight?

Everything was part of a grand scheme to enrich the Malay elites who walk the corridors of power. While Albukhary monopolizes food supply chain, Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin monopolizes the manpower supply. First, Hamzah ordered the police and immigration to hunt down foreign workers, despite Covid-19 pandemic – deliberately done to create a shortage of workers.

At least 124,423 illegal foreign workers were arrested, and generated RM71 million through compounds. Now that a shortage of labour has been created, the same corrupt and despicable home minister happily said employers who are interested in hiring foreign workers will have to bear all the costs involved in bringing them into Malaysia.

The SOP (standard operating procedures) for foreign worker entry, involving 4 stages – pre-departure, arrival, post-arrival (quarantine period) and post-quarantine – is essentially a goldmine for the home ministry. Mr Hamzah was basically repeating the process of importing foreign workers after sending them back, the same way former deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi made billions through the import of Bangladeshi.

Despite the chicken prices spiked to RM10.70 from RM8 per kg within a week, the clueless Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi said his ministry had no plans to enforce price control for the item. He claimed no cartel activities have been detected. Finance minister Tengku Zafrul said his Finance Ministry will be studying the method to stabilise the rising prices of chicken.

That was in September 2021. Two months later (November), hypermarket boss Ameer Ali Mydin of the Mydin chain raised the alarm as the chicken prices remained stubbornly high. Worse, the shortage saw only 60% of its usual supply was met, even during non-peak season. Again, labour shortage was being blamed, as well as heavy rain and escalating cost of imported chicken feed.

If a meat cartel could operate right under the nose of the same government for the last 40 years, chances are the same cartel or other cartel has been manipulating and exploiting the chicken prices for decades. How could the government say the current high prices of chicken are beyond its control (non-peak season) when it could easily control the price during peak season such as Hari Raya?

As early as April this year, chicken was already sold at RM8.80 per kilogram at the Selayang wet market. In fact, the price of chicken had increased 6 times in the same month. It means while the government – both Muhyiddin Yassin and Ismail Sabri administrations – knew about the problem since early of this year, the so-called Malay-Muslim government has done nothing to solve the issues.

Just when you thought a change of menu to consuming more vegetables rather than fish, chicken or meat could temporarily fix the escalating cost of living, the consumers were flabbergasted to find that the prices of cauliflower, beans, chillies, cabbage and several other vegetables have risen by 200%. The government’s solution – denies that vegetables have jumped to such insane price level.

Again, the fingers were pointed at the lack of manpower, floods, landslides, transportation cost and the list goes on. In reality, the prices of vegetables, including tomatoes, Japanese cucumbers, chillies, cabbages, beans, sweet peppers and all types of salad leaves produced in Cameron Highlands have rose between 30% to 40% as early as June this year.

It means that the price of vegetables has been shooting up for months. Yet, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs has the cheek to blame the reopening of all trade sectors since October as the culprit that caused the demand for vegetable supplies, leading to price increase. Was the government trying to say that the people did not eat anything at all during the Covid lockdown?

The government talked as if the 33 million people were hibernating during the pandemic, and when the lockdown was lifted, they ate so much that cauliflower shot up more than 100% – from RM7 to RM16 per kg – while Chinese cabbage jumped from RM3 to RM9 per kg. Even if the people suddenly become vegetarian overnight, how do you explain the price inflation on fish, chicken and bread?

The people were so annoyed and frustrated that a picture has gone viral, depicting Minister Nanta Linggi urging Malaysian consumers to eat duck instead while the government investigates the price increase for chicken. The perception is not only the Sabri government is running around like a headless chicken, but has lost touch with the suffering of the people on the ground.

It’s funny that former PM Najib hasn’t pulled his previous stunt this time, when he advised the people in 2014 to shop wisely instead of complaining about price hikes, while showing off a chicken he bought for just RM1. In defending his administration, Najib had also condemned people for ignoring vegetables that have become cheaper, such as “kangkung” (water spinach).

The current prices of poultry products, especially chicken and eggs are now the highest ever recorded in the country. The exponential price hikes of food items across the board, like it or not, suggests not only incompetence, but also the deliberate attempt by powerful cartel and monopoly to rob from the people before the coming 15th General Election.

In truth, everything is being controlled in Malaysia through AP (approved permit), import and export permits, licenses, monopoly and whatnot. The system was designed in such a way to enrich UMNO Malay elites. Therefore, they can control the prices of food and raw material from spiralling if they wanted to. The only reason they can’t control it is because they do not want to.

After paying RM320m to axe KL-S'pore HSR, PM now proposes revival

After paying RM320m to axe KL-S'pore HSR, PM now proposes revival

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has proposed a revival of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) after his predecessor Muhyiddin Yassin terminated the project at a cost of RM320 million.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the proposed revival was conveyed to him by Ismail Sabri during a bilateral meeting in the city-state today.

"The prime minister (Ismail Sabri) has suggested the revival of discussions on the HSR, and I responded to the PM that Singapore and Malaysia previously reached an agreement to terminally terminate the HSR project, and this was amicably settled and closed.

"Nevertheless, Singapore is open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the HSR project, and the two ministries of transport will discuss the matter.

"Singapore looks forward to receiving more details from Malaysia so that we can study them and consider the matter again - starting from a clean slate," Lee was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Lee was speaking at a joint press conference with Ismail Sabri who is in Singapore for an official visit.

The KL-Singapore HSR agreement lapsed on Dec 31, 2020.

Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung previously said a stumbling block that led to the termination of the project was because Malaysia had wanted to remove the joint-tender mechanism under AsstsCo.

Ong said AssetsCo was necessary to ensure accountability and its removal was a fundamental departure from the HSR bilateral agreement and was unacceptable.

At the time, Muhyiddin's government justified that the proposed model would be too costly amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

A new model, it said, would give Putrajaya the freedom to appoint local contractors and consultants.

Malaysia forked out a total of S$102.8 million (RM320.07 million) to Singapore as compensation for aborting the project.

Groups slam Loke for making Anwar ‘scapegoat’ for PH’s Melaka loss

Loke Siew Fook had reportedly said that Pakatan Harapan should talk more about the reform agenda than about Anwar Ibrahim being prime minister.

PETALING JAYA: Two pro-Anwar Ibrahim groups have slammed DAP organising secretary Loke Siew Fook for his call to stop making Anwar Ibrahim the sole Pakatan Harapan candidate following the coalition’s defeat in the recent Melaka elections.

Otai Reformis secretary Abdul Razak Ismail said a post-mortem should have been carried out to find the real cause of PH’s defeat instead of making Anwar a scapegoat.

He said the Melaka polls were a whole new ball game for PH because of the SOPs that were enforced, which limited the party’s ability to hold ceramahs and house-to-house visits.

“We object to Loke’s suggestion to replace Anwar as there are no leaders who have the charisma that can rival his stature so far,” Razak said at a press conference.

Gabungan Bertindak Memorandum Rakyat Malaysia president Mustapa Mansor, in criticising Loke, said he should have discussed the issue at the presidential council meeting instead of making a public statement.

Noting that nearly 20% of voters in Melaka did not cast their ballots, he said if more voters had shown up, PH could have provided stiffer competition to Barisan Nasional and Perikatan Nasional.

Loke was also reported by Malaysian Insight as saying the coalition should talk more about the reform agenda than about Anwar being prime minister.

Meanwhile, in light of the recent increase in the prices of goods, both groups urged the public to protest against the price hikes.

“We will give the government one week to bring the prices down. If not, all Malaysians should come together and protest,” Razak said.

Dei Wan Fayhsal, podah, lebih baik kau pergi cetak wang lah


Wan Fayhsal stumbles over reason for 2020 call to abolish vernacular schools

Ex-deputy youth minister says statement made in his capacity as Bersatu Youth chief

Bukit Mertajam rep Steven Sim Chee Keong says Deputy National Unity Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal (pic) gave an untrue answer in Parliament when queried over claims the latter made last year on abolishing vernacular schools. – Bernama pic, November 29, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR – Deputy National Unity Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal was grilled in the Dewan Rakyat today over statements he made last year concerning vernacular schools.

Steven Sim Chee Keong (Bukit Mertajam-PH), during the Ministers’ Question Time, pointed out that Wah Fayhsal as deputy minister of youth and sports last year had called for the abolishment of vernacular schools.

Sim suggested that there is a disconnect between cabinet members given National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique’s assurance that vernacular schools are here to stay, while her deputy had made statements calling for its abolishment.

In his reply, Wan Fayhsal said the statements he made on vernacular schools were done in his capacity as Bersatu Youth chief, and not as deputy national unity minister.

“What I stressed was the need to ensure Bahasa Malaysia is used in vernacular schools to connect students, teachers and the community.

“I am confident that if there are more students like YB Bukit Mertajam (Sim) who comprehend Bahasa Malaysia well, the language can be made an agent of unity in vernacular schools.

“When I said abolish, I did not mean close, but I meant strengthen Bahasa Malaysia a language in these schools,” Wan Fahysal said.

However, his answer was not received well by Sim, who pointed out Wan Fayhsal was talking about two different things.

“If he said we need to improve our proficiency of Bahasa Malaysia, we can do it.

“The deputy minister has given an untrue answer and is confusing Parliament,” he added. – The Vibes, November 29, 2021

Guan Eng corruption trial: Nazri Aziz says he introduced Zenith-BUGG MD to former Penang CM


Guan Eng corruption trial: Nazri Aziz says he introduced Zenith-BUGG MD to former Penang CM

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng arrives at the Penang High Court in George Town November 22, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Former minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz admitted to receiving RM500,000 from Consortium Zenith-BUCG Sdn Bhd to help repair dilapidated religious schools in southern Thailand, the Sessions Court was told today.

Nazri, who was former culture, arts and tourism minister from 2013 to 2018, was testifying as the 14th prosecution witness at Lim Guan Eng’s undersea tunnel corruption trial today.

He said this during cross-examination by Lim’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo who queried him on questions posed by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigators into the case.

Gobind: Did they ask you whether you received money from Zenith-BUCG managing director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli for the introduction or the project?

Nazri: No.

Gobind: Did he (Zarul) give you any money?

Nazri: Yes, a RM500,000 contribution to help rehabilitate dilapidated religious schools in Pattani district in southern Thailand.

In his witness statement, Nazri testified that he had known Zarul since the 1990s as an acquaintance of his old friends, but not in terms of politics or business.

He also conceded that it was he who introduced Zarul to Lim after the latter expressed a desire to meet someone “powerful” in Penang regarding a project, which he did not name at the material time around late-2010 to early-2011.

“Zarul informed me that he wanted to know someone of influence in Penang to get him a project.

“But I did not know what project that was. I cannot remember the date he told me this.

“I took the initiative to contact and ask Lim if he is interested to meet Zarul regarding projects in Penang,” Nazri said.

Nazri said Lim subsequently agreed to meet with Zarul and he then arranged a meeting in January 2011 at Hotel Shangri-La at 9pm.

In this trial, Lim faces four charges, one under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act for having allegedly solicited kickbacks of 10 per cent of future profits from Zarul as a reward to help the latter’s company secure the project in March 2011, as the then CM.

He is also facing a charge under Section 23(1) of the same Act for allegedly receiving RM3.3 million in kickbacks from Zarul between January 2011 and October 2017 for allegedly helping the latter’s company secure the mega project.