Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Hot FM discussing with Khairy’s team for radio announcer job offer, meant to be ‘a breath of fresh air’ for the station

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Hot FM discussing with Khairy’s team for radio announcer job offer, meant to be ‘a breath of fresh air’ for the station

Former Umno youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin was expelled from his party last Friday. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Tuesday, 31 Jan 2023 5:52 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — An on-air announcer job offer by Hot FM to former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin was meant to bring a breath of fresh air to the local radio station.

The Media Prima-owned station said in a statement today that the offer was to invite Khairy to "warm up" the morning segment "Bekpes Hot” alongside Johan, Fara Fauzana, and AG.

It said discussions with Khairy's team about the offer are still ongoing.

A soft copy of the offer letter went viral over the weekend after it was posted on various social media platforms by Hot FM.

The letter offered Khairy a position as a radio announcer for the morning segment from Monday to Friday.

Speaking about the offer, Media Prima Audio chief executive officer Nazri Noran said the idea was to add more colours to the morning segment and bring fresher content to the listeners.

"Khairy is not only a great politician and leader but also an influencer who has a great impact on Malaysians.

"His presence [at Hot FM] along with other radio presenters will bring a new dimension to the country’s radio landscape.”

Network director Shah Hayatudin said the station is currently in discussion with Khairy’s team about the offer.

"So far his feedback has been positive about the offer and we will announce developments on the matter from time to time.”

Khairy was expelled from Umno last Friday for violating the party’s constitution in the 15th general election (GE15) that was held last November.

The former Rembau MP and Umno youth chief contested the Sungai Buloh seat in GE15 but was defeated by Pakatan Harapan’s Datuk R. Ramanan.

Hannah Yeoh: Sports Ministry wants National Sports Council to probe alleged racist remarks involving hockey player

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Hannah Yeoh: Sports Ministry wants National Sports Council to probe alleged racist remarks involving hockey player

Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh speaks to Malay Mail during an interview session in Putrajaya January 30, 2023. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

Tuesday, 31 Jan 2023 4:34 PM MYT

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 31 — The Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) has asked the National Sports Council (MSN) to investigate a national female hockey player who allegedly made racist remarks on social media recently.

Minister Hannah Yeoh also urged the MSN to get help from the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) to investigate the matter.

“Once I get the opinion from the MSN we will decide. So today the MSN will discuss with MHC, I have also informed Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal (MHC president),” she said at the press conference in conjunction with the sports industry town hall session at Menara KBS here, today.

An Instagram account holder using the @niezhanis handle, believed to be the country’s women’s team hockey player, allegedly left a racist comment on an Instagram post related to the concert of a famous Indian singer and composer which was held recently in Kuala Lumpur.

After realising her comment had gone viral and sparked anger among netizens, she posted an apology on her Instagram Story today.

“I am Hanis Nadiah Onn, a national hockey player, with humility and responsibility would like to apologise for deliberately posting a comment on Jan 28,” she said in the post.

She said she realised that the comment had caused many parties to be affected, adding that she had deleted the comment.

“Throughout my 10-year involvement in hockey, I am surrounded by friends from different races who are constantly fighting for Malaysia.

“I regret my carelessness and again I apologise to those affected,” said the 26-year-old player who helped Malaysia win gold medals at the 2015 and 2017 SEA Games.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will conduct an inquiry regarding the alleged racist remarks.

In a statement released today, MHC said their Disciplinary Committee will call in the player concerned for the inquiry, as part of its investigation on the alleged post.

“The findings of the inquiry will be submitted to Hannah Yeoh, Minister of Youth and Sports, for her further action,” it said. — Bernama

Woman fighting against Muslim status goes to Federal Court

Woman fighting against Muslim status goes to Federal Court

The 37-year-old woman wants the Federal Court to determine whether an ‘invalid’ shariah court order can be challenged ‘collaterally’ in the civil courts.

PUTRAJAYA: A woman who was recently reinstated as a Muslim is seeking to set aside a Court of Appeal ruling that favoured the Selangor Islamic religious authority.

In her leave application filed before the Federal Court yesterday, the woman wants the highest court to determine whether an “invalid” shariah court order can be challenged “collaterally” in the civil courts and whether Article 121(1A) of the Federal Constitution is applicable. The provision touches on civil courts having no jurisdiction in shariah matters.

The 37-year-old also wants the court to rule on whether Section 74(3) of the Administration of Islamic Law Enactment (Selangor) bars the civil courts from deciding on unilateral conversion cases involving children.

Earlier this month, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) won an appeal before the Court of Appeal to reinstate her as a Muslim. Justices Yaacob Sam and Nazlan Ghazali ruled in favour of Mais while Justice Ravinthran Paramaguru dissented.

The woman, who was born in 1986 and who originally professed the Hindu faith, was still a child when she was converted to Islam unilaterally by her mother.

She said her mother had unilaterally converted her in 1991 at the Selangor Islamic religious department’s (Jais) office.

The conversion took place while her parents were in the midst of a divorce, which was finalised in 1992. Her mother went on to marry a Muslim man in 1993, and her father died in an accident three years later.

The woman contended that despite her conversion to Islam, her mother and stepfather allowed her to continue leading life as a Hindu.

The appeals court in its majority ruling held that civil courts were not empowered to hear cases involving the renunciation of religion.

It noted that she had previously filed a suit at the Kuala Lumpur shariah court, seeking a declaration that she was “no longer a Muslim” but that this was rejected. The woman came to the civil court after the shariah court’s decision.

Meanwhile, in the minority judgment, Ravindran said the Selangor enactment applicable at the time clearly stated that a person could only convert to Islam after the age of 18.

Nurul Izzah’s appointment not nepotism, says Anwar

Nurul Izzah’s appointment not nepotism, says Anwar

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has drawn flak for making his daughter, Nurul Izzah, his senior finance and economics adviser.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has defended the appointment of his daughter, Nurul Izzah, as his senior adviser, saying there is no nepotism involved.

“Nepotism is where (a family member) is given a position to abuse power, enrich themselves, obtain contracts and get paid a huge sum.

“This is not the case,” he told reporters after attending the National Sports Awards at the National Sports Council here.

Anwar also hit out at his critics, adding that past prime ministers and ministers who awarded their family members “hundreds of millions of ringgit” worth of contracts were in no position to talk about transparency.

He said Nurul Izzah’s role as his adviser was to help ensure government projects and tenders were done in an orderly manner.

“I guarantee that (my) administration, even though some are unhappy with my decision, will fight corruption, abuse of power and the enrichment of any leader or officer,” he said.

Earlier, the head of Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) questioned Anwar’s decision to appoint Nurul Izzah as his senior economics and finance adviser despite his stand against nepotism.

TI-M president Muhammad Mohan said the prime minister had always spoken up against nepotism and cronyism, so this did not look good on him.

Although he regarded Nurul Izzah as a person of integrity, Muhammad said the perception arising from her appointment showed that nepotism was “back”.

Muhammad added that it would not have been an issue if the PKR vice-president was appointed to another ministry.

He hoped that Anwar would respond to the brickbats and urged him to rescind Nurul Izzah’s appointment as soon as possible.

Nurul Izzah previously served as Lembah Pantai MP for two terms (2008-2018) and one term as Permatang Pauh MP. She failed to defend her Permatang Pauh seat in the 15th general election (GE15), after losing to a Perikatan Nasional candidate.

PM challenges Malaysian contingent to bag first Olympic gold in Paris 2024

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PM challenges Malaysian contingent to bag first Olympic gold in Paris 2024

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim attends the 2021 National Sports Awards (ASN) ceremony at the National Sports Council (NSC) Banquet Hall in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur January 31, 2023. — Bernama pic

Tuesday, 31 Jan 2023 5:55 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has thrown down the gauntlet to Malaysian athletes to make history by bagging the country’s first Olympic gold medal at the 2024 Paris Games.

He said this is no mission impossible if all parties, including the Youth and Sports Ministry, associations sports bodies and athletes, play their respective roles and give their best.

“I want us to achieve at least one gold medal at the coming Olympic Games.

“This is my challenge to Minister (of Youth and Sports) Hannah Yeoh and Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria,” he said in his speech at the 2021 National Sports Awards (ASN) ceremony held at the National Sports Council (NSC) Banquet Hall in Bukit Jalil, here, today.

Apart from Yeoh and Mohamad Norza, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Adam Adli Abd Halim and heads of the national sports associations were also present at the event.

Elaborating, Anwar said although athletes must be open to and accept any decision that is made during competitions, what needs to be inculcated in them is that they must always strive to do their very best.

The Prime Minister said it must also be emphasised to the athletes that there is no compromise to working hard in training.

“We must try to give everything, do the best possible... the rest leave it to God and openly accept the result,” he said.

Mohamad Norza is chairman of the 2024 Paris Gold Programme Monitoring Committee, which has been set up to keep track of the implementation and effectiveness of the programme.

The 2024 Paris Gold Programme is part of the NSC’s existing Podium Programme that is divided into two groups of athletes, namely those capable of qualifying and those with the potential to deliver the gold medal. — Bernama

Ukraine war: Joe Biden rules out sending F-16 fighter jets


Ukraine war: Joe Biden rules out sending F-16 fighter jets

Ukraine is calling for fighter jets to help bolster its air fleet in their ongoing conflict with Russia
By Kathryn Armstrong
BBC News

US President Joe Biden has ruled out sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, despite renewed calls from Ukrainian officials for air support.

Asked by a reporter on Monday if the US would be providing the planes, Mr Biden replied simply "no".

His comment comes a day after Germany's leader also ruled out sending fighter jets.

Ukraine has said it needs the jets to take control of its airspace in its ongoing war with Russia.

F-16 Fighting Falcons are widely considered one of the world's most reliable fighter jets and are used by other countries, such as Belgium and Pakistan.

They would be a significant upgrade on the Soviet-era fighting jets Ukraine is currently using, which were made before the country declared independence from the USSR more than 30 years ago.

However, Mr Biden has repeatedly rebuffed Ukraine's pleas for the jets, instead focussing on providing military support in other areas.

The US announced last week that it would supply Kyiv with 31 Abrams tanks, with the UK and Germany also pledging similar support.

Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister, Andrii Melnyk, welcomed that announcement but asked allies for the creation of a "fighter jet coalition" that would also provide Ukraine with Eurofighters, Tornados, French Rafales and Swedish Gripen jets.

In an interview on Sunday, Germany's chancellor said that it "seemed frivolous" to discuss sending other military aid to Ukraine when they had just committed to sending the Leopard 2s.

Olaf Scholz also reiterated to German newspaper Tagesspiegel that the Nato military alliance was not at war with Russia and that it would "not allow such an escalation".

Moscow has accused Nato of being an aggressor by proxy and members of the alliance, including the US and Germany, have been reluctant to send military aid that could see the conflict escalate.

The French President, Emmanuel Macron, on Monday echoed this sentiment - saying that while "nothing is excluded" when it comes to providing support to Ukraine, it must neither further inflame the situation nor limit France's ability to defend itself.

Other EU countries, including the Netherlands, have not yet given a definitive response on whether they will send fighter jets.

However, Poland has indicated that it would be prepared to supply fighter jets in co-ordination with Nato.


kt comments:

Wankee Ah Pek cakap ta'serupa bikin - tank pun diberi dengan mucho reluctance, dan hanya untuk menekan Germany memberi tank Leopard 2 dulu.

Tujuan Wankee adalah untuk Ukraine to bog down Russia, bukan menang perang lah. Ukrainians mati mereka punya pasal

Corruption Perception Index: Malaysia records worst score in a decade, but goes up one spot

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Corruption Perception Index: Malaysia records worst score in a decade, but goes up one spot

Transparency International Malaysia president Muhammad Mohan speaks during a press conference at the Royal Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur January 31, 2023. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Tuesday, 31 Jan 2023 2:22 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — Malaysia continued its slide in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) measured by global watchdog Transparency International (TI), managing only 47 out of 100 possible points — its worst performance in a decade.

Muhammad Mohan, the chairman of the local chapter TI-Malaysia, said despite an increase in the ranking to 61st out of 108 countries compared to 62nd previously, Malaysia’s score continued to fall after reaching its height of 53 points in 2019.

“It is not a good sign as it shows that we are moving in the wrong direction. We have dropped six points in the last three years which is statistically significant. We are even below countries such as Namibia and Rwanda.

“We have to turn around this downward trend,” he told reporters when presenting the 2022 Malaysia CPI report here.

Muhammad said among the nine surveys that determine the CPI score, Malaysia had dropped significant points in the 2022 World Economic Forum executive opinion survey from 54 to 47 points, while dropping from 48 to 45 points in the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index Expert Survey for the same period.

He listed the reasons for the low score, which included the lack of political will in fighting institutional corruption in the government, huge Covid-19 pandemic stimulus packages that were rolled out without parliamentary debate and scrutiny, appointing unqualified politicians to head government-linked companies, and the reluctance to firmly address cost overruns such as the Littoral Combat Ship project.

He highlighted the comment by newly-elected Ministry of Defence Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan who asked the public to “move on” from the LCS scandal.

“If you don’t investigate or come out with reports and white paper, then what and when will we learn? By saying let's move on, I think it is not correct...the score would not improve and next year we will be talking about this again.

“We need the vessels but please don’t ignore or it will happen again,” he said.

However, Muhammad pointed to some positive developments such as the memorandum of understanding between the Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government and Pakatan Harapan in 2022 which paved the way for several institutional reforms.

He also lauded the new Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim government's commitment to good governance, fighting corruption and judicial independence, mandatory competitive bidding for procurement contracts and review of certain high-value projects.

“He addressed the issues raised in the Auditor-General's Report and called the ministers to act on the report of leakages and corruption in their ministries. It’s good but this is basic, I'm very surprised the previous ministers don’t even look at the report,” he said, referring to Anwar.

Denmark placed first with a score of 90, followed by New Zealand and Finland with 87. Neighbouring Singapore placed fifth.

Three in 10 Asia-Pacific countries scored lower than 50 points, with Malaysia one of them.

UCSI survey finds seven in 10 Malaysian youths in debt, mostly for car loans

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UCSI survey finds seven in 10 Malaysian youths in debt, mostly for car loans

The UCSI Poll Research Centre found that 73 per cent of 1,077 youths it had polled had taken up loans for various reasons. ― Reuters pic

Tuesday, 31 Jan 2023 1:55 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — Local university UCSI has found that 73 per cent of 1,077 Malaysians aged between 18 and 40 are in debt.

The main reasons given for taking the loans were financial constraint (42 per cent), inflation (22 per cent) and luxurious lifestyle (21 per cent), according to the findings released today.

“This indicates that about three-quarters of Malaysian youths do not have sufficient capital for financial commitments.

“Although the number of borrowers among the youngsters is worrying, 83 per cent of them could pay their loans on time,” UCSI University’s head of research and postgraduate studies in its Faculty of Business and Management, Hassanudin Mohd Thas Thaker, said in a statement accompanying the survey results.

The UCSI survey found that 30 per cent of the loans were for vehicles, 28 per cent were for education, and 16 per cent were to buy houses.

“It is alarming to have vehicle loans on top of the pyramid as according to the Insolvency Department Malaysia, vehicle loans (14.39 per cent) have been the second causal factor of bankruptcy rate after personal loan (42.24 per cent) in the year 2022,” Hassanuddin said.

He said the research centre found that 73 per cent of youths are aware of the consequences of defaulting on their loans.

He added that this shows Malaysian youths do not apply for loans blindly.

The UCSI poll also found 58 per cent of Malaysian youths saying their financial status have been hurt post Covid-19.

“The 58 per cent who were affected by Covid-19 pandemic may be due to unemployment, unstable income and the increase in commitments as the pandemic has affected a lot of companies and individuals in Malaysia,” Hassanuddin said.

In seeking insights to the main causes of the youths’ financial constraints, UCSI said its survey points towards increasing living costs and insufficient savings (27 per cent) as the top two contributors, followed by lifestyle changes.

Hassanuddin added that the change in lifestyle may have been necessary to some of the youths because many things changed during the pandemic.

“One of the examples are university students’ transition from physical classes to online classes.

“This requires each student to have their own laptop and home Wi-Fi facility for them to join online classes which indirectly affected their daily financial well-being,” he said.

Another finding is that most youths are in debt as they do not have enough savings to begin a new chapter of their life which later causes them to apply for loans.

“Based on the outcome of this research, it could be concluded that the majority of the youths are having greater financial constraints due to the Covid-19 waves,” he said.

Hassanuddin said that inflation from the current financial situated in the country has also increased the number of borrowers among the youth in the country.

“There is always a mismatch between the demand and supply which leads to a continuous problem,” he said.

Watchdog chides Nurul Izzah's appointment, says talent can be utilised in a separate ministry

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Watchdog chides Nurul Izzah's appointment, says talent can be utilised in a separate ministry

Transparency International Malaysia president Muhammad Mohan speaks during a press conference at the Royal Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur January 31, 2023. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Tuesday, 31 Jan 2023 2:59 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) said today it is concerned by the appointment of Nurul Izzah Anwar as the senior economic adviser to her father, prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The watchdog’s chairman Muhammad Mohan however said Nurul Izzah’s talent and credentials can however still be utilised if she does not report directly to Anwar, but rather placed in a different ministry.

“Why did he appoint her when he already talks about nepotism and cronyism? The perception today is nepotism has come back.

“Our view is that it gave the wrong signal and if not rectified it will factor in the index here,” he said after presenting the 2022 TI-M Corruption Perception Index here.

In 2022, Malaysia recorded its worst performance in a decade, managing only 47 out of 100 possible points.

Defending Nurul Izzah, Muhammad said he believes the former Permatang Pauh MP has the integrity to handle the situation.

He added that he understood that Anwar may have wanted someone he could trust and rely on as his representative to gauge public sentiment.

“Our PM is not someone who doesn’t know things. My personal opinion, my feeling is he need help to work for the people.

“I hope PM can intervene so that we don’t lose her talent,” he said.

Nurul Izzah, the eldest daughter of Anwar, was appointed as senior economic and financial adviser on a pro bono basis at the Prime Minister’s Department and the Ministry of Finance, early this month.

The 42-year-old former lawmaker confirmed her appointment in a media interview on Sunday, prompting backlash as the public and opposition parties decried the assumed preferential treatment.

Anti-smoking council sounds alarm after Health Ministry officials shown being chummy with tobacco industry reps

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Anti-smoking council sounds alarm after Health Ministry officials shown being chummy with tobacco industry reps

MCTC said it is worried that the meeting would hinder the government’s effort to reduce tobacco consumption within the country. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

Tuesday, 31 Jan 2023 11:31 AM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — The Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control (MCTC) has expressed its concern today over a meeting between two senior officials from the Ministry of Health and representatives from the tobacco industry.

In a statement, the anti-smoking council said it is worried that the meeting would hinder the government’s effort to reduce tobacco consumption within the country.

“In recent days, two senior officials, both section heads, with the Ministry of Health in the Disease Control Division were seen meeting with tobacco product industry officials.

A social media post with pictures of these meetings was tagged as “meeting for future collaboration”.

“Worse, after this was highlighted in certain social media channels, efforts were taken to alter or delete photos pertaining to this, a clear signal of attempting to hide these meetings,” it said.

It did not name the two officials from the ministry.

The group said that the meeting violated the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control treaty which the country has ratified.

It said that Article 5.3 of FCTC has specifically stated measures to protect public health policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.

“It is the clear understanding of all parties involved in tobacco control that the FCTC Unit within the Ministry of Health is the only unit whose offices are tasked to have any sort of interaction with the tobacco industry; and that too in an official capacity in terms of regulating tobacco control.

“The meeting of these two officials, who are not with FCTC and have no legal or official standing with tobacco control measures, with tobacco product industry officials sends a worrying signal as to their purpose,” it added.

The group also called for an immediate investigation into this issue by the top management of the Health Ministry and for transparency in the results of these investigations once completed.

MCTC members include the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), National Cancer Council (Makna), National Cancer Society and Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca).

Former health ministry Khairy Jamaluddin was a top advocate for anti-tobacco efforts in the country after introducing Generation End Game (GEG) Bill last year which seeks to ban the use, possession and sale of cigarettes and vape products to those born after 2007.

His successor Dr Zaliha Mustafa from Pakatan Harapan said last month that she wished to retable the Bill in the first sitting of Parliament in 2023 following several concerns about its drastic implementation.

Dei Polis apa lu takut lah???

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DAP MP questions arrest of individuals who recorded a raid in Penang

Lim Lip Eng said the arrest of the three individuals could be seen as a means to oppress the public.

Tuesday, 31 Jan 2023 11:43 AM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng is questioning the arrest of three individuals for recording a raid by the police in a cafe recently.

He said the arrest of the three individuals could be seen as a means to oppress the public.

“It is very subjective according to the law to classify the recording of a raid as interfering with the duty of the authorities,” he said in a statement today.

He said if the public is not allowed to record, then the government should hasten its plans to install body cameras on the policemen on duty.

“The purchase of this equipment was scheduled in 2021 and it is now 2023, when will this be implemented?” he asked.

He said this is an important issue that needs to be looked at especially with the new government prioritising reformation within the policing body.

The DAP MP was commenting on a raid conducted by the police at a music performance held in a cafe in George Town, Penang last night.

He said, other than the arrest of the cafe owner, three individuals from the audience were arrested for recording the police during the raid.

He demanded that the Attorney General explain the rational behind this action when the raid was openly conducted but the public was not allowed to record it.

“In this case, why were the individuals arrested for recording the raid? Isn’t it better if such operations conducted by the authorities were not conducted in a clandestine manner?” he asked.

He said there needs to be transparency in the way the authorities conduct their duties and this should be shown to the public.

Reformist Anwar lost it big this time! ― Raman Letchumanan

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Reformist Anwar lost it big this time! ― Raman Letchumanan

Tuesday, 31 Jan 2023 12:29 PM MYT

JANUARY 31 ― Since becoming prime minister two months ago, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been saying all the right things ― such as promoting good governance and democratic institutions, getting rid of corruption, nepotism, cronyism, political appointments ― to reform this ailing nation of 60 years.

He even said ministers and deputy ministers cannot make political appointments for their own office, except from existing civil service.

But the appointment of Nurul Izzah, Anwar's daughter, as his senior finance and economics advisor, has did that all in. It came as a lightning bolt from an eerie darkening cloud that has suddenly enveloped Anwar.

Nurul Izzah was appointed as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's senior finance and economics advisor. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

It seems Anwar talks about all the right things, but does the direct opposite.

The reaction from the rakyat, except from those connected, has been furious. The Opposition is elated and having a field time poking fun at him. Even those within the fragile unity government are wondering whether Anwar has scored his own goal so soon.

Anwar's supporters in defending him are justifying the appointment, citing the nepotism and cronyism in appointments of previous leaders. Wasn’t that Anwar vowed to eradicate from day one?

I am offering my views here as a former senior civil servant (Perkhidmatan Tadbir dan Diplomatic (PTD service)), and being qualified in finance and economics, as a professional chartered accountant and having a PhD related to economics.

The position of an advisor, as with a consultant or similar capacity, requires specialist knowledge and years of on-the-job experience. Even if eminently qualified, advisors/consultants are only appointed if there no expertise in-house that requires outside intervention.

The Finance Ministry should know, since they accredit qualified professionals, consultants and companies. Does the finance ministry itself now lack such talent, where only the top qualified people are appointed?

In any job application, the first ones to be weeded out are those connected with the top management unless it is a family business. That becomes even more critical especially in the all important finance ministry. How could Anwar appoint his daughter Nurul all by himself without any due process? Was this decided over breakfast?

According to professional misconduct and ethics, it is wrong to offer any advice for which a professional accreditation is required, such as accountants, auditors, financial planners, lawyers, doctors. Here it seems unaccredited Nurul will advise accredited professionals in the finance ministry.

Anwar said he doesn’t require a finance degree to do his job previously and now. There is a saying, an engineer can do a manager’s job, but a manager cannot do an engineer’s job. That is why a competent civil service with the right qualifications is put in place to advice the executive on how to do their managerial job.

Apart from professional violation, it is wrong in contract law and employment law to employ someone without consideration. The UN pays one dollar each for volunteers to legitimise the employment. In any case, please don’t make a mockery that we tax payers cannot afford someone to provide much needed services when we are already shouldering a bloated 1.6 million civil servants.

To me, this free service seems to be a ridiculous attempt to justify Nurul's appointment. And why keep it secret for one month.

Will Nurul have her own office staffed with her own officers? What is her job scope? Will she be involved in advising and monitoring the treasury officials’ work, chairing meetings and making decisions? Will she have access to official secrets and internal dealings?

Or will Nurul only advise Anwar offering her opinions or second opinions, which may not be in line with the civil servants. In all aspects, it seems Nurul will be running the ministry especially with Anwar being extremely busy as PM. She will be the most important person between the minister/deputy ministers and the top civil servants with a direct link to Anwar in office and at home.

Of course there may be duplication with the economy minister. Anwar needs to clarify her role and put it in writing.

This appointment will continue to haunt Anwar, more so causing great confusion among civil servants and other ministries.

Based on the experience of the government’s charity arm, BAKTI and PUSPANITA, spouses of ministers and top civil servants enjoy priority service from the civil servants over their official work. Of course the curry favour culture will be amply demonstrated. Treasury officials will pay homage to Nurul, even if her duties prohibit that.

And it will be a classic repeat of nepotism and cronyism pervading the whole administration and civil service in this reformist government.

After a hard won fight in GE15, and with the wisdom of the Rulers, Anwar became the 10th prime minister. Looking at social media comments, most are having second thoughts about Anwar, whether he is a true reformists he promised to be.

He is certainly alienating the urban, educated and informed class who were solidly behind him. And he seems to be handing over in a silver platter his government to the much despised opposition.

Is this appointment of Nurul worth all this risk? It is even smearing all the good deeds of Nurul? Why get into an unnecessary public acrimony over a small unnecessary matter? Why subject your voters and supporters to this agony?

If Anwar wants Nurul, why not appoint her to a foundation or government linked enterprise that for the people with full pay. Call it Malaysia Madani Foundation. Nurul is best suited for that role.

My appeal to Anwar, please let go of this appointment immediately!

And my appeal to Nurul, please withdraw from this appointment if you really want PM Anwar to remain in office, and fight the real enemies of the nation.

* Raman Letchumanan PhD, is a former Senior Fellow at the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, a former director at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, and a former head of environment/disaster management at the Asean Secretariat in Jakarta. Contact: raman.asean@gmail.com

Two former PMs hauled up to court over HSR cancellation

Two former PMs hauled up to court over HSR cancellation

Former prime ministers Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin Yassin were hauled to court over the cancellation of the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project between Malaysia and Singapore.

Malaysian Mohd Hatta Sanuri filed the writ of summons targeting the two former prime ministers and three others, in order to revive the project as well as demand that they cough up RM1 million in compensation to each Malaysian citizen.

According to a copy of the cause papers filed in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 30 last year, the plaintiff named not only Mahathir and Muhyiddin as the first and second defendants, but also listed former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of the economy Mustapa Mohamed, former transport minister Wee Ka Siong and the Malaysian government as third, fourth and fifth defendants.

Hatta came to the limelight previously over a failed legal bid against the government on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) awarding Singapore sovereignty over Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Puteh). However, the 46-year-old has an ongoing appeal over this at the Court of Appeal.

According to the latest action’s statement of claim sighted by Malaysiakini, Hatta alleged that Mahathir was negligent and committed the tort of misfeasance in public office when the then prime minister made the decision to postpone the HSR project on Sept 5, 2018, which allegedly resulted in Malaysia paying RM46 million in compensation to Singapore on Jan 31, 2019.

The plaintiff claimed that Muhyiddin, also committed negligence and tort of misfeasance in public office, as the prime minister then, by terminating the HSR project on Dec 31, 2020, and this purportedly led to Malaysia paying over RM320 million in compensation to Singapore in 2021 for the cancellation of the bilateral agreement between the two nations.

Previously on Jan 1, 2021, the media reported a joint media statement by then-prime minister Muhyiddin and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Shien Loong over the cancellation of the HSR project.

Hatta claimed that Mustapa was similarly negligent and committed misfeasance in public office over the postponement of the project and that Wee was also allegedly similarly negligent and perpetrated misfeasance in public office over the management of the project.

Former minister Mustapa Mohamed

The plaintiff claimed that among the losses suffered by all Malaysians following the termination of the HSR project, was the loss of foreign investors’ confidence in the country; loss of 70,000 potential high-paying jobs from the project; loss of opportunity to gain RM70 billion in profits from HSR’s construction, operation and “multiplayer impact” as well as over RM366 million in losses due to Malaysia paying the compensation to Singapore.

“Based on the above facts, the defendants need to pay aggravated and exemplary damages to every Malaysian, including the plaintiff, for an action that is unconstitutional, vicious (kejam) and for their own dishonest benefit that turned back on the interests of Malaysians,” Hatta claimed.

Through the present legal action, the plaintiff seeks several reliefs, among them a declaration to nullify the cancellation of the HSR project.

Hatta seeks a declaration to compel the defendants to pay RM1 million in damages and compensation to every Malaysian citizen.

The plaintiff also seeks a court order to compel the five defendants to give a written explanation regarding the reasons for the postponement and cancellation of the project.

According to a copy of a memorandum of appearance filed at court on Jan 20, the Attorney-General’s Chambers has entered an appearance on behalf of the defendants against the legal action.

Hatta was represented by counsel from the law firm Mohaji, Hazury and Ismail.

According to the online cause list, the lawsuit is set for case management on Feb 2 in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

On Aug 22 last year, then-prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob expressed interest in expediting the revival of the HSR project with Singapore as soon as possible.

This came after a statement issued by his Singapore counterpart Lee on Nov 29, 2021, who said he was open to the idea of a new project proposal.

Both countries first inked the bilateral agreement on HSR on Dec 13, 2016, during the Malaysian administration of then-prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.

The RM110 billion project, which involves 350km of development, was intended to shorten the travel time from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore to only 90 minutes.

On Dec 13 last year, Bernama reported the Johor state government expressed its readiness to collaborate and cooperate with the federal government over a possible revival of the project.

Analysts pour cold water on Khairy’s comeback ambitions

Analysts pour cold water on Khairy’s comeback ambitions

Khairy Jamaluddin contested the Sungai Buloh parliamentary seat in Selangor, in GE15 and plans to build a new political base in the state.

PETALING JAYA: Political analysts have poured cold water on Khairy Jamaluddin’s ambitions to make a comeback in the upcoming state elections in Selangor, following his recent sacking from Umno.

Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs told FMT that the state elections would be too rushed for Khairy as there was a lot of groundwork that needed to be done.

He said the former Umno Youth chief would find it difficult to “excel”.

“This is not a (party) presidential election. One needs to solve or at least deal with problems on the grounds in any constituency (that he wants to contest in),” he added.

Oh Ei Sun.

Oh also said that Khairy’s options of forming his own party, or joining another, was not feasible if he wanted to win in a state election, with rivals out to thwart a popular political figure like him.

Yesterday, the former Rembau MP told Channel NewsAsia (CNA) that he was considering making a political comeback in the upcoming Selangor state elections.

Khairy said Selangor is the “political epicentre” of Malaysia and he plans to build a new political base in the state.

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya was of the same opinion, that Khairy could not rely on individual strength alone if he wanted to be successful.

Awang Azman Pawi.

And the idea of setting up a new party is a bad idea, he added.

“There are too many political parties,” he said, referring to Khairy’s comment on the political market being saturated.

Asked about the former Umno Youth chief’s prospects in other parties, Awang Azman said he might not be accepted by PKR because the party would not want to sour its relations with Umno, its partner in the current unity government.

“It would also be difficult for the PKR grassroots to accept (Khairy) because some just recently contested against him in the general election (GE15),” Awang said.

Khairy contested the Sungai Buloh parliamentary seat in Selangor, in GE15, but was defeated by Pakatan Harapan’s R Ramanan by a 2,693 vote majority.

Noh Omar more likely to join PN, but not KJ, says analyst

Noh Omar more likely to join PN, but not KJ, says analyst

Noh Omar and Khairy Jamaluddin were sacked by Umno last week for breaching party discipline during the recent general election.

PETALING JAYA: Former Umno Supreme Council member Noh Omar is more likely to join Perikatan Nasional (PN) than Pakatan Harapan (PH), giving a boost to the opposition coalition in Selangor ahead of the state polls, says an analyst.

Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, however, said Noh’s former comrade, Khairy Jamaluddin, who was also sacked by Umno, is unlikely to join PN.

“Noh was a traditional Umno warlord. His style and beliefs are incompatible with PH’s reformist image, so I don’t see him joining them,” Oh told FMT.

“I think he is more suited for PN and he has built up a power base in Selangor. Being a local warlord, he and his supporters can easily move to a new platform.”

He said Khairy, the former Umno Youth chief, is a “political superstar” loved by voters who are not PN supporters, so joining the coalition led by Bersatu and PAS is not an option.

“He thrives on his progressive and reformist aura. This is incompatible with PN’s regressive and conservative views.

“But while he is popular among the masses who don’t subscribe to PN’s views, he is not fancied by leaders of other parties because he may outshine them. This is Khairy’s dilemma,” he said.

Oh said it is likely that Khairy will have to form a new political platform with other like-minded but similarly sidelined figures.

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid also said Noh is more likely to join PN.

“He will probably be named Selangor menteri besar should PN be successful in wresting the state from PH,” he told FMT.

As for Khairy, his path is trickier, Fauzi said.

He said although Khairy’s political inclinations are more aligned to PH, joining the coalition may cast a shadow on Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s relationship with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He also said despite Khairy’s sacking, it may not be the end of his political journey in Umno.

“I believe Khairy has support among Umno’s younger generation. He can afford to wait until Zahid’s term as Umno president is over.

“Then (he may) stage a comeback once Zahid’s successor realises that Khairy can draw in the votes and can be the future face of Umno,” he said.

Noh and Khairy were sacked by Umno last week for breaching party discipline during the 15th general election.

Ex-Otai Reformis man criticises Nurul Izzah’s appointment as PM’s adviser

Ex-Otai Reformis man criticises Nurul Izzah’s appointment as PM’s adviser

Abdul Razak Ismail says there are others better qualified for the role.

PETALING JAYA: A former member of a pro-Anwar Ibrahim group has criticised the prime minister’s decision to appoint his daughter, Nurul Izzah, as his senior economics and finance adviser.

“The perception is simple, out of 32 million people, is there really no one else who can be the prime minister’s adviser?” former Otai Reformis secretary Abdul Razak Ismail told FMT.

“We have economic affairs minister Rafizi Ramli, is it not enough?”

Razak, who is now the secretary-general of Green Party Malaysia (GPM), questioned how Pakatan Harapan (PH) would have reacted if former prime minister Najib Razak had appointed his wife, Rosmah Mansor, as an adviser when he was in power.

He said Anwar will now have to deal with the perceptions surrounding his daughter’s appointment.

Even as the opposition leader, Anwar had to deal with perceptions of nepotism when his wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and Nurul Izzah were MPs, he said.

“Now you (Anwar) have been appointed prime minister and the perception is still the same.”

He said Nurul Izzah, the former Permatang Pauh MP, should join an NGO instead to advise the government her father leads.

“That would be a better move”.

Nurul Izzah’s appointment has come under fire from the opposition, civil society groups, think tanks and even those within PH.

Yesterday, PKR’s Pasir Gudang MP, Hassan Karim, described her appointment as “legally right, but morally wrong”.

Others said the appointment reeked of nepotism and pointed out that Nurul Izzah did not have the qualifications for the role even though she possessed two degrees.

Opposition leader Hamzah Zainudin urged Anwar to rescind the appointment which he said went against good governance principles.

Last night, former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin said it was not too late for Anwar to rectify his missteps since becoming prime minister, including Nurul Izzah’s appointment.

PTA head denies endorsing SPM workshop, refuses to quit

PTA head denies endorsing SPM workshop, refuses to quit

The PTA of SMK Infant Jesus Convent says the controversy over the SPM workshop has come to an amicable conclusion, with those involved tendering their apologies.

JOHOR BAHRU: The embattled chairman of the parent-teacher association (PTA) of SMK Infant Jesus Convent has denied that he had endorsed a Malays-only SPM workshop by the school, and has refused a call to step down by the committee.

“I did not endorse the Malays-only workshop as I told the school authorities this is not only wrong but also unfair. That is why they planned for others (non-Malays) as well after that. I did not do anything wrong to step down,” Nasution Putra Saad told FMT.

Nasution, who came under pressure to quit over the controversial workshop at a special PTA meeting on Sunday, said he refused and asked for a no-confidence vote to be taken against him instead.

“But none of the committee members present proceeded with my suggestion. So, I will leave it to the next annual general meeting in March to decide on my position,” he said.

As for the expenses for the workshop in a hotel, Nasution said he was allowed to sign a cheque for RM5,000 and below for any legitimate project under the PTA constitution.

Last week, parents claimed the PTA meetings never discussed two workshop series, and that no approval had been sought for the use of funds for such workshops.

Sources told FMT the committee members were outraged when Nasution shut down the Whatsapp chat group of the PTA without their permission after claims that the issue had been leaked by a member.

Nasution admitted shutting it down, but said it was because the accusations and counter arguments were getting extremely racial, which was not good for educators.

“But we decided collectively to reopen it at the Sunday meeting, with the condition that it will only be for information and notification. We agreed that no one should turn the group into a platform for racial arguments,” he said.

Yesterday, the PTA issued a statement saying the controversy over the SPM workshop had come to an amicable conclusion, with all those involved having apologised over the issue

It said moving forward, the school agreed to practise more transparency in such matters in future.

Woman in shorts denied entry to police station

Woman in shorts denied entry to police station

Karen says the officer at the Kajang police station had refused her entry until she changed into a pair of long pants. (Pinterest pic)

PETALING JAYA: A woman who had intended to lodge a police report following a car accident claims she was denied entry into the station because of her attire.

Karen (not her real name) told FMT an officer at the Kajang police station refused her entry because she was wearing shorts.

“The officer saw me wearing shorts (through the car window) and told me to leave. I was wearing Bermudas that covered my knees,” she said.

She claimed the officer was adamant and refused to listen to her reason that she would have to travel a distance to change.

“It was ridiculous. How can they deny me the right to lodge a report unless I change my clothes?

“He told me he didn’t care and that even ministers wouldn’t be allowed to enter (if they were dressed that way).”

Karen had met with an accident with a truck near her home in Batu Sembilan, Cheras, yesterday morning.

She and the truck driver went to the Batu Sembilan police station to lodge a report but were told to go to the Kajang police station instead.

She said the officers at the first station had not reprimanded her for wearing shorts and wondered why she had been turned away at the Kajang police station.

“If there was such a rule (shorts not allowed), then somebody would have told me at the first police station. It makes no sense.”

Realising she was getting nowhere with the officer; Karen called her sister to bring her a pair of long pants and was finally allowed entry.

“I asked the officer for his badge number and name to file a complaint, but he refused to give them to me,” she said.

She said she tried to contact Kajang assemblyman Hee Loy Sian to discuss the matter and to ensure that it did not happen to others.

Contacted by FMT, Hee said he would check with the Kajang police department.

FMT has also reached out to the station for comment.

Blinken urges calm, reaffirms ‘ironclad’ US support for Israel

al Jazeera:

Blinken urges calm, reaffirms ‘ironclad’ US support for Israel

Top US diplomat pays tribute to Israeli victims of attack in Jerusalem without mentioning Palestinians killed by Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) says the United States and Israel are 'working together' to counter Iran in a press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken [Ronaldo Schemidt/Pool via Reuters]

Published On 30 Jan 202330 Jan 2023

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called for “calm” and “de-escalation” between Israelis and Palestinians while reiterating Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to Israel.

In a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday, Blinken reaffirmed that the administration of US President Joe Biden will push forward with normalisation efforts between Israel and Arab states, to “integrate” the country into the region.

In his first visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories since Netanyahu’s far-right government took office late last year, the top American diplomat also heaped praise on the US-Israel alliance.

“It’s important that the government and people of Israel know America’s commitment to their security remains ironclad,” Blinken said. “That commitment is backed up by nearly 75 years of United States support. America’s commitment has never wavered; it never will.”

His trip comes amid an eruption of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, with the Israeli military conducting near-daily, deadly raids in the occupied West Bank.

Last week, Israeli forces killed 10 Palestinians in the West Bank, including nine in the Jenin refugee camp. A day later, a Palestinian gunman fatally shot seven Israelis in a settlement in occupied East Jerusalem.

On Monday, Blinken paid tribute to the Israeli victims without mentioning Palestinians killed by Israel.

Despite the mounting tensions, Blinken’s remarks appeared to place emphasis on regional normalisation and countering Iran, over concerns about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Blinken restated the US’s verbal support for the two-state solution, but he did not explicitly criticise Israel’s policies of expanding illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem — territories that Palestinians seek as home to their future state.

“Anything that moves us away from that [two-state] vision is — in our judgement — detrimental to Israel’s long-term security and its long-term identity as a Jewish and democratic state,” Blinken said. “That’s why we’re urging all sides now to take urgent steps to restore calm, to de-escalate.”

Reporting from East Jerusalem, Al Jazeera’s James Bays said Blinken — who started his Middle East trip in Egypt on Sunday — is not expected to bring forward any major initiative to end the conflict.

“The Biden administration policy, ever since Joe Biden became president, has basically been to keep a lid on things, to urge restraint from both sides — but not get bogged down in any negotiations, not to actually proactively try and start diplomacy,” Bays said.

On Monday, Blinken stressed US support for the historic status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem, in which neighbouring Jordan serves as the custodian of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“We also remain committed to supporting religious coexistence and diversity, including in Jerusalem,” Blinken said. “We continue to support upholding the historic status quo at Jerusalem’s holy places, including the Temple Mount, Haram al-Sharif. We’re grateful to the prime minister [Netanyahu] for his repeated expressions of support for that position.”

Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians spiked earlier this month after an ultranationalist minister in Netanyahu’s government, Itamar Ben-Gvir, visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in a move condemned by Palestinian and Arab leaders as a “provocation”.

Despite the rightward tilt of the Israeli government, the Biden administration has stressed that its support for Israel will remain unconditional.

Israel — which leading human rights groups have accused of imposing a system of apartheid against Palestiniansreceives at least $3.8bn in US military aid every year.

The Iran file

Standing alongside Blinken, Netanyahu focused on Iran in his brief comments to the press on Monday — not the rise in violence with Palestinians.

Netanyahu is a staunch opponent of the Iran nuclear deal that saw Tehran scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions against its economy.

The Biden administration has said it is committed to restoring the agreement, which was nixed by former US President Donald Trump, but indirect talks between Tehran and Washington have stalled amid anti-government protests in Iran.

“My policy is to do everything within Israel’s power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, and that will remain so,” Netanyahu said on Monday. “But obviously the fact that we and the United States are working together is something that is important for this common goal as well.”

Iran has denied seeking a nuclear weapon and points to Israel’s own covert nuclear arsenal. Israel is one of few countries in the world that is not party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

“We agree that Iran must never be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon,” Blinken said on Monday. “And we discussed deepening cooperation to confront and counter Iran’s destabilising activities in the region and beyond.”


Croatian president slams Western arms to Ukraine

al Jazeera:

Croatian president slams Western arms to Ukraine

President Zoran Milanovic has repeatedly criticised Western policies towards Russia and the Balkans.

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic says arms deliveries will only prolong the war [File: Darko Bandic/AP Photo]

Published On 30 Jan 202330 Jan 2023

Croatia’s president on Monday criticised Western nations for supplying Ukraine with heavy tanks and other weapons in its campaign against invading Russian forces, saying those arms deliveries will only prolong the war.

Zoran Milanovic told reporters in the Croatian capital that it is “mad” to believe that Russia can be defeated in a conventional war.

“I am against sending any lethal arms there,” Milanovic said. “It prolongs the war.”

“What is the goal? Disintegration of Russia, change of the government? There is also talk of tearing Russia apart. This is mad,” he said.

“It is clear that Crimea will never again be part of Ukraine,” Milanovic added.

The Croatian president was elected in 2019 as a left-leaning liberal candidate, a counterpoint to the conservative government currently in power in the European Union and NATO-member state.

But he has since made a turn to populist nationalism and criticised Western policies towards Russia as well as the Balkans.

Milanovic has built a reputation for being pro-Russia, which he has repeatedly denied.

Yet in recent months, he has openly opposed the admission of Finland and Sweden into NATO as well as the training of Ukrainian troops in Croatia as part of EU aid to the embattled country.

After months of hesitation, the United States said last week that it would send 31 of the 70-tonne Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, and Germany announced it will dispatch 14 Leopard 2 tanks and allow other countries to do the same.

Milanovic said that “from 2014 to 2022, we are watching how someone provokes Russia with the intention of starting this war”.

“What is the goal of this war? A war against a nuclear power that is at war in another country? Is there a conventional way to defeat such a country?” Milanovic asked on Monday.

“Who pays the price? Europe. America pays the least,” he said. “A year has passed and we are only now talking about tanks,” Milanovic said.

“Not a single American tank will go to Ukraine in a year. Only German tanks will be sent there.”

Although the presidential post is mostly ceremonial in Croatia, Milanovic is formally the supreme commander of the armed forces.

His latest anti-Western outbursts have embarrassed and irritated the country’s government, which has fully supported Ukraine.