Hornbill Unleashed

May 25, 2016

Swiss Bank BSI’s CEO resigns

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Swiss Bank BSI’s Group CEO Stefano Coduri has resigned with immediate effect, following the announcement that the Money Authority of Singapore instructed the closure of its Singapore branch.

The bank said it is fully cooperating with investigations by the Singapore and Swiss authorities, according to financial portal Bloomberg.

Coduri would be replaced by Roberto Isolani, a serving member of the BSI board, business daily The Edge reported.

The bank said it has undertaken steps to strengthen management, including introducing a new chief risk officer and appointing a new group legal counsel, news agency Reuters reported. (more…)

1MDB: No word yet from S’pore and Swiss authorities

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Following reports that legal action have been taken by authorities against Swiss-based BSI Bank both back home and in Singapore, supposedly linked to deals involving 1MDB, the sovereign fund today said that it had not received any communication from either authority.

“1MDB notes the media statements issued today by lawful authorities in Switzerland and Singapore.

“1MDB states that it has not been contacted by any foreign lawful authority on matters relating to the company,” read the statement from the government investment arm.

However, it reiterated its public stand that it will cooperate with any and all authorities in any probe.

“1MDB remains committed to fully cooperating with any foreign lawful authority, subject to advice from the relevant domestic lawful authorities, and in accordance with international protocols governing such matters.” (more…)

I’m wondering if Sarawak is on another planet?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

If Sarawak is part of Malaysia, then why are Malaysians being treated as “them and us” when some Malayans are turned away, by immigration as they try to enter Sarawak?

Why do Malayans need a permit to work in Sarawak? It is commendable that Sarawak protects jobs for the Sarawakians, but why not demand that Sarawak oil is for Sarawak development? Why the double standard?

Why can the word “Allah” be used in Malay bibles in Sarawak, but not in Malaya? Are Malayan Muslims so weak willed that they would be easily confused by Malay bibles, or is the faith of the Sarawakian Muslims much stronger? No! Religion has been politicised.

Why are Malayans treated with suspicion in Sarawak? Or is it a deliberate ploy, by the Sarawak authorities, in collusion with their Malayan counterparts, to stop Malayans from learning about assimilation, mutual respect and tolerance, in Sarawak? (more…)

The alternative mess offered to rakyat

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

In deciding to contest, Amanah the new party may think it has proven its courage to contest against two “giants” but in return it has created a three-cornered-fight – a scenario which no party likes in a by-election.

Looks like it will be a Sarawak state election-situation all over again in the upcoming Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections then.

However, critics say it is only a ‘save face’ move by Pakatan Harapan since PKR has ‘failed’ to negotiate a cooperation with PAS.

In the previous by-elections, both the seats were fielded by PAS candidates in the 2013 General Election (GE) against Umno, losing only by a very small majority. (more…)

Education ministry to study implementing compulsory pass in SPM English

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The Education Ministry is setting up indicators to determine whether the country is prepared to implement the condition of a compulsory pass in English Language in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan said the process involved getting feedback from the public and interested parties, including teachers.

“Meetings with language experts and stakeholders have also been held several times to gather information on how we can implement the condition,” he told the Dewan Rakyat today.

He was replying a question from Datuk Abdul Manan Ismail (BN-Paya Besar) who wanted to know the progress on the proposed implementation of the compulsory pass in English Language in SPM. (more…)

Global noose on 1MDB tightens

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Three international developments today are harbingers of the global noose of the 1MDB scandal that  is closing in, viz:

1) The withdrawal of the BSI Bank’s status as a merchant bank in the city state by the Monetary Authority of Singapore for “serious breaches of anti-money laundering requirements, poor management oversight of the bank’s operations and gross misconduct by some of the bank’s staff” and the reference of six members of the BSI Bank’s senior management and staff to the public prosecutor – after  investigations into the 1MDB scandal in Singapore.

2) Commencement of criminal proceedings by Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) against BSI SA Bank for allegedly failing to prevent offences linked to 1MDB, including offences of money laundering and bribery of foreign public officials.

3) Resignation with immediate effect of Swiss Bank BSI’s Group chief executive officer Stefano Coduri following the announcement by the Money Authority of Singapore on the closure of its Singapore branch and criminal proceedings by the Swiss OAG in connection with their 1MDB investigations. (more…)

Swiss AG opens criminal proceedings against BSI Bank

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The OAG has opened criminal proceedings against Swiss bank BSI in connection with embattled Malaysian state fund 1MDB. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has opened criminal proceedings against Swiss bank BSI in connection with embattled Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), it said today.

“The OAG suspects deficiencies in the internal organisation of the BSI SA bank,” the OAG said in a statement. “It is believed that due to these deficiencies, the bank was unable to prevent the commission of offences currently under investigation in the criminal proceedings relating to 1MDB.”

In February, Swiss bank EFG International agreed to buy BSI from Brazil-based BTG Pactual for 1.33 billion Swiss francs (RM5.5 billion).

In a separate statement, Swiss financial watchdog FINMA said it found BSI in breach of money laundering regulations in connection with 1MDB.


Wife presents ‘birthday boy’ Taib with RM1.5m Bentley

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Sarawak governor Abdul Taib Mahmud received a surprise birthday present from his wife – an RM1.5 million car.

Ragad Taib presented the 80-year-old former chief minister with the white Bentley Continental GT V8 S convertible, affixed with gold ribbons, during a celebration in Kuching last Saturday.

According to sources, the gift also coincided with the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary.

Ragad, 36, who hails from Syria, married Taib in 2010 after the death of his first wife Laila a year earlier due to cancer.

Taib and Laila, who were married in 1959, were blessed with four children, Jamilah, Mahmud Abu Bekir, Sulaiman Abdul Rahman and Hanifah as well as 15 grandchildren. (more…)

Political change and ‘tidak apa’

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Once upon a time, not long ago, many Malaysians – the majority – believed that change was possible through politics. That was our age of innocence and naivete.

No longer now it seems, given the current plague of scandals and chicanery, and the burgeoning tools of repression and authoritarianism exercised by a government desperate to prevent the fallout from the twin crises of IMDB and donation to the Prime Minister’s account from spiralling out of control and toppling Datuk Seri Najib Razak from his position.

The fish rots from the head. The rot has also set well into the rest of the body politic.

No political figure or body either from or associated with the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition has been immune from the sense of disillusionment, betrayal and alienation that is pervasive among members of the public as a result of what is taking place in the country. This can be discerned from the feedback; some expressed angrily, others sorrowfully, seen on a daily basis in the readers’ columns of the social media. (more…)

Chew Mei Fun, more children is no fun!

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

At a time when costs of living is high, social problems among the young are on the rise, it is not right to tell Malaysians to have more children.

At a time when national schools are trying to make head or tail of the ever changing education system, and when parents have to work leaving children with untrained nurseries or at the mercy of maids, it is preposterous to suggest Malaysians have more children.

At a time when we read of governments slashing funds from the future of the youths in scholarship, and study loans are being given higher interests, it in unimaginable for Malaysians to have more children.

Thus, when Women, Family, and Community Development Deputy Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun decides to say having more children is a good thing and asking family to plan to have more children, one wonders if her feet are planted on the same planet as we are. (more…)

Constitution is to uphold justice and rights of all

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The MCA Religious Harmony Bureau is taken aback by the parliamentary written reply by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic Affairs Jamil Khir Baharom that “legislation that bans unilateral conversion contradicts Article 12 (4), which allows the father or mother to decide the child’s faith.”

MCA strongly reiterates our party’s position that Article 12 (4) on determining the minor child’s religion should be read as “ibubapa” and not “ibu atau bapa”.

In any cases of dispute, then the child’s faith must remain as status quo or as that of the common religion of the parents during his/her birth as announced by the then de facto Law Minister Nazri Aziz in April 2009.

MCA further emphasises that in such cases of dispute, only when the child has reached the age of majority ie 18 years, then shall the minor child select his/her own creed. (more…)

1MDB, the Saudi Prince and letter from Sungai Buloh

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The steaming hot El-Nino phenomena appeared to have ended. Rain battered the City, flooding roads and submerging cars.

The La-Nina atmospheric phenomena had set in, a genuine Arab prince strode into town and Tourism Minister was hot under the collar – literally – and momentarily losing composure.

Not even the soothing wet feminine touch of La-Nina could cool down the ladies’ man Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz when Prince Sultan Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud was asked about “donations”.

This genuine “in-the-flesh” Arab prince is the son of Saudi King, Salman.

He is not the mysterious on-the-paper “prince” that had been dragged out of the woodwork by the defenders of the Prime Minister, (Datuk Seri Mappadulung Daeng Mattimung Karaeng Sanrobone), Mohd Najib Abdul Razak. (more…)

May 24, 2016

Rafizi to submit proof on ‘cash, women’ claim to PKR president

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

PKR secretary-general Rafiz Ramli said he will submit to the party president all evidence he has on claims that bribes of cash and “women” were asked of those wanting to strike deals with the PKR-led Selangor government.

This comes after PKR deputy president and Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali said the state cannot probe because the claim was made without any proof.

“I will surrender all evidence to the party president and will wait for the party’s decision on this before deciding whether to report the matter to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commision,” Bernama reported him as saying at the Parliament lobby today.

Rafizi has told the WhatsApp group ‘Solidarity for Anwar’ that he had received a complaint from a “bona fide” source that cash and “women” were asked as bribes from those wanting to deal with the state government. (more…)

‘If you think the opposition is weak, do something’

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

An interesting conversation happened between several close friends of mine, that the opposition is currently very weak and will not be able to lead the nation even if they win an election.

A friend kick-started the early morning yum-cha conversation with the remark, “We have always supported Pakatan Rakyat, and now it is known as Pakatan Harapan. Next, I do not know whether it will be there any more.”

Like Barisan Alternatif that was hot during the sacking of former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim in 1999 and the burning anger against Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he said that the fate of Pakatan Harapan may not last even to the next general election.

The near split in Selangor that was caused by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang was also raised by another friend. “We all know that PAS became a thorn to Pakatan after the demise of (former menteri besar) Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat. With Hadi being pro-Najib Abdul Razak, it is obvious that PAS will prefer to sleep on the same bed with Umno just to turn Malaysia into another Taliban nation,” he said. (more…)

Will the 5 BN direct YBs make a wise decision?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Five BN direct candidates who won their seats in the recently concluded Sarawak state election are still in limbo. They are Wong Soon Koh (Bawang Assan), Tiong Thai King (Dudong), Dr Jerip Susil (Mambong), Ranun Mina (Opar) and Johnical Rayong (Engkilili).

They have yet to decide which of the following BN component parties –

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP), Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) or Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) they want to join.

The five were former members of United People’s Party (UPP), which is a breakaway party from SUPP. As UPP is not a component party of the BN, they resigned from the party to be eligible to stand as BN direct candidates.

CIDB, DOSH team up to reduce contruction fatalities

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) will enhance collaboration in safety and health issues in the Malaysian construction industry.

This is part of efforts to focus on reducing by 50 per cent the fatality rate in 2020 from 10.94 per cent per 100,000 workers in 2015.

The collaboration also aims to produce more cohesive action to elevate the construction industry to a higher level, as the sector has one of the worst safety and health records with 89 fatalities in 2014 and 140 in 2015.

DOSH Director General, Datuk Ir. Mohtar Musri said through the partnership, both agencies would complement each other by leveraging on their respective strength and function, with the ultimate goal of improving the overall performance of the construction industry in safety and health.

He said of the 668 fatalities in occupational hazard cases, construction accounted for 21 per cent in 2015 and this number is alarming. (more…)

Kit Siang tells PM to show Bank Negara documents for RM2.6b

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang has cast doubts on Department of Special Affairs (Jasa) director-general Mohd Puad Zarkashi’s revelation that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had gotten the green light from former Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, to accept a RM2.6 billion donation in 2013.

The Gelang Patah MP asks why Najib had not come forward to say this himself, if things were so clear cut.

“If Najib had Bank Negara documents which approved the deposit of RM2.6 billion in his personal banking accounts, why is Najib unable to show them in the past 11 months since the Wall Street Journal report?

“If the RM2.6 billion donation had come from the Saudi King, why can’t he produce documentation to prove it? (more…)

Rafizi, five others, fail to set aside charge in connection with Blackout 505 rally

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli failed in his bid to set aside a charge under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 in connection with the Blackout 505 rally. — File picPandan Member of Parliament Mohd Rafizi Ramli and five others failed in their bid to set aside a charge under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 in connection with the Blackout 505 rally when the High Court here today dismissed their application.

Judge Amelia Tee Hong Geok Abdullah, when handing down the decision, said the charge made against them was not against the constitution and the prosecution had reasonable grounds to charge them.

Tee set June 21 for mention of the case at the Sessions Court.

Mohd Rafizi, 39, who is also Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president, and Muhammad Adib Ishar, 27, a PKR secretariat member, was charged with organising the rally without meeting a condition set by Dang Wangi police chief ACP Zainuddin Ahmad that they must obtain the permission of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall for use of the venue, which was Padang Merbok. (more…)

Russian state oil firm may buy Petronas’ assets

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Russian state oil and gas firm Zarubezhneft may buy Petronas’ assets, said Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.

Novak said Russia is also looking at increasing oil and oil products to Asia-Pacific region.

“Also, Zarubezhneft shows interest in studying the assets of Petronas. The parties are holding consultations about it,” he is reported as saying on Friday by Russian news agency Tass.

“As for Zarubezhneft, it is studying opportunities to undertake projects in Malaysia.

“Zarubezhneft has a lot of experience to enhance the effectiveness of existing fields, and offers its services and participation,” Novak is quoted as saying. (more…)

Now, Rafizi says will submit Selangor graft complaints to MACC after PKR

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli said he would submit certain complaints he had received on alleged corruption in Selangor involving the state government to the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission. — File picPKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli clarified today that he will submit certain complaints he had received on alleged corruption in Selangor involving the state government to the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC).

However, Rafizi told Malay Mail Online that he will provide the MACC with the complaints that have substantial supporting evidence after he presents a full list of complaints to his party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail tomorrow.

“I will go and do so after the political bureau meeting,” he said.

Earlier today, the PKR MP was reported as saying all the complaints will be forwarded to Dr Wan Azizah tomorrow and the party president will decide what to be done with them. (more…)

Dr M vows to praise ‘great leader’ Najib sky-high when abroad

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is known for his acerbic sarcasm, has vowed to praise Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak when he is overseas.

“I will set the example by praising Najib and the RM2.6 billion in his account sky-high when abroad.

“Any speech I deliver abroad and my answers in any interview by the foreign media will highlight his democratic arrest and detention of anyone…

“I will never fail to talk about Najib’s great contribution to Islam for which the Arabs gave him US$681 million.

“Also about the freedom of speech of Umno delegates to not talk about 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion in the great leader’s account,” said the former premier in his blog. (more…)

Watchful waiting on a dying mother

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

I watched my mother languished in a ‘nursing home’ in Penang for more than 10 years with Parkinson’s. ‘Nursing home’ — an oxymoron, indeed, as no qualified nurses or trained staff attended to the more than 30 residents, some confined to their beds, some senile, and a few mentally alert but wheel-chair bound, like my mum was.

Instead, five Indonesian helpers multitasked as geriatric carers and physiotherapists, cooks and cleaners, guards and gardeners for close to 12 hours daily with no off days except during Christmas and Chinese New Year. Whither our labour laws and ethical treatment of domestic helpers who double up as geriatric ‘nurses’ in unregulated ‘nursing homes’ that charge monthly fees ranging from RM1,200 to RM1,500? Nursing homes are profitable indeed.

I was angry, but helpless, at no random government checks on profit-making aged care homes, many of them converted from double-storey residential houses. Although unintended, some commercialised nursing homes are like dumping grounds for the old and frail, objectified and sustained as an income stream by the operators. (more…)

M’sia still ‘initiating negotiations’ for Sirul’s extradition

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The government still in the process of initiating negotiations with Australia to extradite former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar to Malaysia, said Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid.

“This is a long process as this not only involves diplomatic ties, but a complex negotiation that needs to be dealt with carefully,” he said in his capacity as home minister.

This suggests the government has yet to start the negotiating process despite Sirul, who has been sentenced to death over the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu, fled the country over a year ago.

Zahid was responding in a parliamentary written reply to Ramkarpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor), who asked if the government had submitted a formal request to Australia to extradite the fugitive.

On Jan 13 the Federal Court upheld a High Court decision sentencing Sirul and chief inspector Azilah Hadri to death for the murder of Altantuya in 2006, after the duo had been acquitted on appeal.

Sirul fled to Australia before the decision, and Malaysia faces an obstacle in Australia’s law preventing extradition of persons facing the death sentence.


Rafizi shifts decision on Selangor graft claims to PKR chief

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Rafizi said he will submit the complaints and supporting documents to Dr Wan Azizah during a party meeting tomorrow. — Picture by K.E. OoiPKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail will decide if complaints of alleged corruption in the Selangor government should be reported to authorities, party secretary-general Rafizi Ramli said today.

Rafizi, who made the allegations in a leaked text message last week, said he will submit the complaints and supporting documents to Dr Wan Azizah during a party meeting tomorrow.

“I will give it to her first and if she asks me to lodge reports, I will,” Rafizi told reporters outside the Parliament building.

Rafizi previously stressed that he is still collecting evidence regarding the graft allegations.

In a leaked Whatsapp message to party members last week, Rafizi said he received complaints from bona fide individuals that there is money and women exchanged in dealings with the state government. (more…)

Sarawak – the case for closing the gap

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The Sarawak State elections are over. Three weeks in the deep interior of rural Sarawak was nothing short of an eye-opener. I am more fired up and angrier than ever on the amount there is to do; and more eager than ever to do something. I know more now, the extent of the rot that must be treated. And I am now more helpless than ever over a solution for the social, political and national problem that plagues our nation and our people.

What we need now is not just more of what we have been doing, but other tactics and strategies that we have not attempted or even contemplated. And I will be honest in saying that being back at the drawing board is the most immediate place we need to be at.

These elections really tested – in fact absolutely thrashed and battered – my principles, my integrity, my commitment to democracy, my belief that all human are inherently kind and good-natured, and most severely my world views on race and humanity. (more…)

A civil war imminent for PKR?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

News has now leaked that PKR’s own heralded whistleblower and secretary general Rafizi Ramli is about to expose graft within their own stronghold of Selangor headed by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali. Apparently, there have now been allegations that demands of cash and women when dealing with the state government.

At the same time, jailed PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has sent out a letter from prison calling the Citizen’s Declaration “flawed and inconsistent” with his idea of reform – for those who may not recall, PKR’s Azmin and Rafizi both signed the document.

Of course, apparently the letter is now said to have been a “private matter” or an internal one for PKR, even if it involved a declaration that involved every opposition party, a few non-government organisations and even some members from across the political aisle. (more…)

Is Parliament being one-sided and partial?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Is the Malaysian Parliament one-sided and partial where ministers and senior government leaders like the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman cannot be referred to the Committee of Privileges for lying and the Speaker only a “yes man” to such breaches of parliamentary privileges?

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman had committed a double contempt of Parliament when:

* she lied when replying to the DAP MP for Bagan Lim Guan Eng on Monday that PAC members were informed about the deleted lines from the PAC Report on 1MDB because of correspondence from Bank Negara on April 6 that its information was “confidential for the purpose of intelligence only and not for court usage or public report”, and

* when she defended her first lie with another lie by claiming that DAP MP for PJ Utara and PAC member Tony Pua’s statement that PAC chairman Hasan Arifin had “never at any point of time communicated with PAC members on any developments subsequent to the meeting on April 4” before the PAC Report on 1MDB was presented to Parliament on April 7 was “untrue and without any basis”. (more…)

PM’s suit against Harakahdaily must go through full trial

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak lost his application to have his defamation lawsuit against PAS-owned news portal Harakahdaily be determined on point of law. — File picNajib Razak lost today his application at the High Court here for his defamation lawsuit against PAS-owned news portal Harakahdaily to be determined on point of law, without a full trial.

Najib’s lawyer, Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun, said the court had ruled that the questions of fact and law in the case must be discussed at a full trial, including tendering evidence and witness testimonies.

“PAC report needs to be tendered in full trial and not via Order 14A,” Hafarizam told Malay Mail Online when contacted, referring to an order for a summary disposal of the lawsuit on point of law.

National news agency Bernama reported Hafarizam as saying earlier this month that the defence of qualified privilege and fair comment no longer applied because the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report tabled in Parliament on April 7 purportedly stated that Najib was not involved in state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). (more…)

Malaysians should speak up over travel restriction

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

I had asked whether there will be any minister who will resign on a matter of principle if the Cabinet is not prepared to countermand the arbitrary and undemocratic ban on Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and DAP National Publicity secretary and MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua from free travel overseas.

I have not heard of any news that any minister or deputy minister is resigning his or her post in protest against such lurch towards undemocratic and arbitrary practices which have so far been the hallmark of communist and closed societies, representing a major and fundamental difference with democratic and open societies.

Is Malaysia an open and democratic society or has it regressed to become an autocratic and closed society like the North Korean communist regime? (more…)

Maria Chin mulls legal action over travel ban

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Chin was recently stopped at the airport from flying to South Korea to accept a human rights award on behalf of Bersih 2.0. — Picture by Choo Choy MayBersih 2.0 head Maria Chin Abdullah said she is considering challenging in court the government prohibition against her from travelling abroad.

“I’ve [begun] preliminary discussions with our lawyers,” the electoral reform activist told magazine Southeast Asia Globe in an interview published today.

Chin was recently stopped at the airport from flying to South Korea to accept a human rights award on behalf of Bersih 2.0.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said the government’s purported power to impose arbitrary travel restrictions against Malaysians was a “myth”, insisting that travel bans could only be enforced in limited scenarios like bankruptcies or tax defaults.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, however, claimed that travel restrictions can be imposed on grounds of national security and against Malaysians who violate the Federal Constitution.

The Malay Mail Online

The cracking of the halal eggs

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

When the ‘halal’ eggs got stamped with the Jakim’s halal logo, did any get cracked?  Pity the poor chap who was made to stamp all the eggs one by one. It must have been a tedious process to ensure none got cracked.

There is no chicken or egg story here. It was basically some people going overboard to ensure their customers that the eggs they were selling are completely halal and kosher for Muslims.

It presumably would have been by someone ignorant over the fact that all eggs are permissible for Muslims and you do not need the chicken to be facing the Mecca when it lays its eggs, unless of course there is a new way one can inject something non permissible into the eggs without cracking the shells or the pig has decided to lay eggs.

Also, one need to be more cautious if one is intending to eat the eggs of a snake or a crocodile.

It can be a different ‘haram’ case also if one is a minister and is caught eating turtle eggs, then the eggs may give your image a severe beating. (more…)

Rahman to Lim: You can sell land for RM6b but can’t pay for bridge drawings?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

It is ridiculous for Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to expect the federal government to approve a third bridge to the island state without seeing any blueprints first, said an Umno minister.

Urban Wellbeing Housing and Local Government Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan also rubbished Lim’s assertions that it would cost too much to do the drawing first

“How in the world would the federal government approve a proposal without a drawing of the bridge?

“He (Lim) says the federal government should approve it first before he gives a drawing. It’s a ridiculous answer,” Rahman told Malaysiakini.

He added that paying for the blueprints should not be an issue as Lim is allegedly selling over 100 acres of “prime seafront land” on Penang Island for RM6.3billion to Consortium Zenith BUCG (CZBUCG) for the state’s underwater tunnel project, and had paid RM305 million for a study on the tunnel. (more…)

Do PSA ads actually work on us?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

For years, there have been all kinds of public service advertisements (PSA) on prime time television with an increased frequency.

One of them is the dengue fever PSA ads but has dengue cases dropped and Aedes mosquitoes lessened?

From 2000 to Jan16 this year, 707,227 dengue cases have been reported with 1,721 deaths.

In 2000, the Health Ministry recorded 7,103 dengue cases and 42 deaths.

But merely two weeks into this year, 6,837 cases and 14 deaths were reported, an average of more than 500 cases a day.

This is akin to the failure of the costly RM100 million anti-smoking campaign that the government launched in 2004, that is one public service announcement (PSA) advertisement that was named a failure by the government in 2005 a year after it was launched. (more…)

Gov’t not bound to undertake missing US$3.5b 1MDB bond, says Najib

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Najib Abdul Razak claims the government is not legally bound to take over US$3.5 billion in 1MDB bonds.

“(This is because) the bonds were not guaranteed by the government nor a support letter (issued by government) on the bond,” he said in his capacity as finance minister.

He was responding Wong Chen (PKR-Kelana Jaya), who asked if the government is legally obligated to take over the bond since International Petroleum Investment Corp (IPIC) has refused to honour the binding term sheet dated May 26, 2015.

IPIC and 1MDB are embroiled in a row after at least US$3.5 billion that 1MDB was supposed to pay to IPIC’s subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS went missing. (more…)

Anwar confirms penned letter warning PKR against Dr M’s ‘agenda’

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Anwar said he had initially intended the letter only for the consumption of party leaders, but urged the public to read it since the contents have been leaked. — AFP picDatuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim confirmed today that he had written a letter to caution PKR on its alliance with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The PKR de facto leader and former deputy to Dr Mahathir said he had initially intended the letter only for the consumption of party leaders, but urged the public to read it since the contents have been leaked.

“Yes, I wrote it in court,” he told reporters in court here while being escorted by prison officials.

When asked about Dr Mahathir, Anwar said the issue of maintaining cooperation did not arise, but did not elaborate further.

He went on to say that the agenda of Dr Mahathir, who is leading the Save Malaysia movement comprising Pakatan Harapan, Barisan Nasional (BN) veterans and civil society leaders to oust Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak from office, should not be followed. (more…)

Combatting corruption – rhetorically or realistically?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

To its credit the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) has come out again with some commendable recommendations to combat corruption.

However, Malaysians who suffer from the growing scourge of corruption, that we see destroying our beloved country, at all levels, ask whether these measures are rhetorical or realistic?

The measures are necessary, but are they sufficient? They appear only partially adequate. And certainly not comprehensive nor holistic enough!

A. Why do the new MACC measures appear to be mere rhetoric? (more…)

Reportage now an accepted defence with Malaysiakini victory

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

News portal Malaysiakini today won a defamation suit filed by a gold mine company, succeeding in its defence of qualified privilege, of responsible journalism and reportage.

The Raub Australian Gold Mining (RAGM) had filed the suit against Malaysiakini and three other defendants claiming that the publication of three articles and two videos related to the company’s gold mining operations in Bukit Koman were defamatory and malicious.

However the defendants stressed that the publication of the articles and videos were regarding matters of public interest that had been in public domain for many years.

According to the High Court in a decision today, qualified privilege, also known as the Reynolds privilege, is a defense of responsible journalism. (more…)

Governments should re-examine use of capital punishment

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) strongly condemns the execution of Kho Jabing by Singapore on May 20.

Despite the unanswered concerns regarding the impartiality of the appeal proceeding, the government of Singapore refused to answer the public plea for clemency and unconscionably carried out the sentence at 3.30 pm after the dismissal of Jabing’s appeal on the morning of May 20.

The concerns that Jabing’s right to fair trial was violated was affirmed when Justice of Appeal Andrew Phang failed to recuse himself and sat as part of the coram of judges who heard his motion on May 19.

Suaram would like to reiterate the importance of an impartial tribunal especially in cases involving the use of capital punishment and remind the government of Singapore the importance of the notion that justice need not only be done, but seen to be done. (more…)

May 23, 2016

Edra to build RM400m solar plant in Kedah

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The biggest investment seen in Kedah in years is set to become a reality with a RM400 million solar power plant by Edra Power Holdings Sdn Bhd.

The plant in Kuala Ketil will turn the once agricultural land into an industrial site and support the long-established industrial park in Kulim, said Edra president and executive director Mark Ling.

“The importance of having the Kedah solar plant is that it could footprint the first 50MWAC solar panel farm that will be the largest in Malaysia,” he told Bernama.

Edra, recently acquired by China’s China General Nuclear Power Corp for RM9.83 billion – the largest single foreign investment in Malaysia – was excited to share the group’s vast experience in Malaysia in such a large renewable energy scheme, he said. (more…)

Mobile phone dinners and family ties

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

This is becoming a common scene at restaurants in the country. A young family chooses a table in a diner and asks for a baby chair. The parents seat their child and immediately whisk out a tablet from their bag.

They switch on the smart device for the child to play and switch him or her off from further meaningful interactions during meal time. The tablet is a distraction so that the child creates minimum fuss and the parents can dine peacefully.

What is the purpose of a family sharing a meal? It is on the dining table that family shares nourishment, support and the comfort of each other’s company. That is if they see eye to eye with other.

The fabric of family is woven by sharing such time together and partaking in small exchanges about ourselves in a relaxed setting. Meal time is good family time. Many life lessons and tips on social graces are passed on verbally from parents to child. (more…)

How good is our Parliament at law making?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

One of the key tasks of Parliament is law-making. How good is our Parliament at law-making? To answer, we must make assessments along many dimensions.

Is the law relevant? Put differently, is this law important for us at this time?

Is the law processed efficiently? Put differently, is this law prepared so well that the limited time available for debate in parliamentary sessions is not wasted by MPs having to seek clarifications?

Does the content of the law meet the basic requirements for good law?

The first two are easy to grasp. We can think up illustrations for relevance and efficiency. (more…)

Najib’s ministers have been very, very busy indeed…

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

It seems that Najib Razak’s ministers have been very busy indulging in sophistry, prevarication, obfuscation and downright evasion instead of being true and frank about the RM50-55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion global financial scandals.

It would be difficult to find a denser statement than the one made by the Communications and Multimedia Minister, Salleh Said Keruak that the Wall Street Journal cannot convince Malaysians if it does not reveal the sources of its stories.

In fact, WSJ must thank Salleh for giving greater publicity to its latest report about Najib’s stepson Riza Aziz’s purchase of a RM137 million property in London is now part of the 1MDB probe by international investigators.

Salleh cannot be more wrong when he suggested that WSJ reports have no credibility unless they reveal the sources of its stories, as it is the prime minister and his ministers who have been haemorrhaging from a credibility crisis since the 1MDB global scandal burst on the global scene more than a year ago, till today there is considerable truth in the claim that “For foreign media, Malaysia now synonymous with kleptocracy”. (more…)

‘Sarawak GH project exceeding costs by 200pct’

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The RM378 million Sarawak General Hospital multi-storey carpark project exceeds all reasonable construction costing allegedly by more than 200 percent, ie. at least triple the reasonable standard industrial costs.

This is a consequence of the government awarding projects without going through open tender.  At the end of the day, the people are forced to pay more and project gets delayed because of the alleged never-ending greed of the BN crony.

According to an answer given to the MP for Stampin, Julian Tan, the health minister said that the said SGH multi-storey carpark project include the following:

1. A multi-storey carpark building with 1750 parking bays;

2. A budget hotel with 160 rooms; (more…)

Save and live within your means

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The article titled ‘So many of us will be retired and poor’ fails to address the issue in a wise, balanced and mature way.

It is not surprising since The Heat Malaysia seems to like publishing articles and news that often blame the government for everything and this article serves a particular purpose.

The writer uses facts from the EPF and mixes with her own shallow-minded opinion to present a picture of half truths which is very misleading.

1. The writer claims that salaries/wages are not high enough to ensure sufficient savings in the EPF.

(a) The government has now raised the minimum salary/wage to RM1,000 a month. Although the writer says the government has increased the mandatory contributions to the EPF by both the employer and employee, she says it is a little too late. Nothing is too late if you are determined to save. (more…)

Mukhriz hails ‘historic’ no confidence motion on Najib from Kedah branches

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Former Kedah menteri besar Mukhriz Mahathir claims 50 Kedah branches have put up motions of no confidence against party chief Najib Razak at their respective AGMs, saying there may be more.

Mukhriz, who is son of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, posted a list of branches on his Facebook today who have purportedly put up the motion that also requests for the party elections to be held this year.

“There may be other branches that have made a similar motion but which is not reported.

“They (party leaders) would definitely say the number of branches may not be significant compared to the total number in Kedah.

“But never before in our history has such a motion been passed by so many Umno branches. (more…)

Opposition must swallow new political reality, says Azmin

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Selangor mentri besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, Nov 29, 2015. — Picture by Saw Siow FengOpposition parties need to accept changes in Malaysia’s political landscape, Selangor Menti Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said today amid continued wrangling over two upcoming by-elections.

The PKR deputy president is hoping to convince PAS to yield its claim in Sungai Besar that the Pakatan Harapan pact is eyeing, but admitted the negotiations were “difficult”.

The Islamist party laid claim to the Selangor seat along with Kuala Kangsar on the basis that both were traditionally allocated to PAS, but Pakatan are seeking to field either a PKR or Amanah candidate in the former.

“They have been in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar for the past how many elections. It is quite natural for them to demand those seats but based on our discussion and negotiations, we have to accept the fact that the scenario has changed since GE13,” he told reporters here. (more…)

Adenan, beware of temptations, never be another ‘White Hair’

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

CM Adenan Satem, congratulations on your resounding victory in the elections. You are popular among Sarawakians, there is no doubt about that.

You have earned the right to bask in glory. You deserve your moment, for you have done well indeed.

After the elections, you have been impressive. You have directed your elected YBs to perform. Pity you didn’t warn them to “shape up or ship out”. You also asked them for a report card every six months. You have set a KPI for them. Excellent job in instilling a sense of responsibility in them as elected representatives.

We all know the beginning is always blissful. But as always, it’s easier said than done. So be ready for all eventualities.

One of my concerns, and that of many too, is how you would react when faced with temptations. You are now a very powerful man. The world is at your feet. Even if it’s just Sarawak, you already wield immense power over the state and people. That’s power enough for one man. (more…)

Gov’t invited Syrians, not the rakyat

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

When you invite a guest, it is your duty to take care of the guest. You cannot invite someone and expect someone else to pay for your guest. It is just not a done thing. If you do not have the means to fete your guest, it is best that you do not invite in the first place.

However, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is asking the Malaysians to raise funds for Syrian refugees who will be brought here at the invitation of the Malaysian government.

Bernama reported Ahmad Zahid as saying that 300 Syrian immigrants are due to arrive in Malaysia this year.

“He said this was part of Malaysia’s voluntary commitment to accept 3,000 Syrian immigrants in three years on the humanitarian grounds. (more…)

May 22, 2016

‘Major developers should be included in flash flood plans’

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:03 AM

See points out critical areas at Ong Tiang Swee Road and Upland on a map.Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has called for private developers of major project to be included in the state government’s proposed efforts to resolve and mitigate flash floods here.

State PKR vice-chairman See Chee How said the plans should also be acted on immediately.

“More than two months ago, the state government announced the setting up of a special committee chaired by the State Secretary to resolve and mitigate flash floods in Kuching, particularly those identified as critical areas. The short-term and long-term approaches were said to have been identified by the Drainage and Irrigation Department,” he told a press conference yesterday.

“The approaches, including the construction of a backbone drainage system was attractive and imperative, but until today the special committee has yet to reveal the plans and progress of the works that have been undertaken.” (more…)

S’wak PKR candidate plots comeback with income scheme

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

Roland Engan did not win when he contested in the Sarawak state election, but he came very close. Tantalisingly close.

The Baram native first entered the fray in the 13th general election, but fell just 194 votes short of wresting the Baram parliamentary seat from BN.

He tried again at the Telang Usan constituency during the 11th Sarawak state election early this month. This time, he came up 167 votes short.

This was among slimmest of majorities out of the 82 seats contested in the state election – second only to the 154-vote BN victory in Ngemah.

Far from disheartened however, the 44-year-old lawyer spoke with unwavering passion during an interview with Malaysiakini on Friday last week, and seems to have taken the near-miss in stride. (more…)

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