Hornbill Unleashed

October 8, 2015

Poor public transport system is Kuching city’s downside

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

A women’s group in Sarawak thinks Prime Minister Najib Razak will not get to see the government’s target of having 59 per cent of the country’s workforce made up of women by 2020 achieved if the public transport system does not support such a plan.

Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS) vice president Ann Teo says many women gave up on their plans to leave home to work because of a bad public transport system.

While job opportunities abound in and around Kuching city, for instance, getting to and from work is either too expensive or next to impossible without a reliable public transport system. (more…)

After roads and water, Impian Sarawak offers education, medical services

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

Children entertained by a lion dance during an educamp organised by Impian Sarawak in Kampung Pasir, Miri, on September 23. The project is part of DAP’s community service initiative in the Borneo states. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, October 7, 2015.Ros Matius Mian has never seen her four children so impatient to go to school, with the youngest waking up even before the break of dawn to get ready for classes.

But that was the experience of many parents in the squatter colony of Kampung Pasir, 30 minutes from Miri. For about a week, their bleak surroundings were transformed into a riot of screaming kids and colourful pendants because of Impian Sarawak’s education camp.

The education camp, where volunteers give poor primary school kids a fun spin on science, maths and English lessons, is one of the latest services Impian Sarawak is offering the poor and marginalised in the Bornean state.


Was Pakatan Harapan dead on arrival?

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


Perhaps it really was doomed from the start. Cynicism has been following Pakatan Harapan since its launch last month. Indeed, nothing seems to be going its way. From miscommunication between allies to PAS’ refusal to cooperate, the new Pakatan’s brief history has been lined with missteps.

The latest and perhaps most devastating blow to the fledgling coalition was this week’s talk of division in PKR, with one faction preferring PAS as a partner and the other committed to Pakatan Harapan. The pro-PAS faction claims that Pakatan Harapan was hastily put together and not enough time was taken to work out a compromise with the Islamist party.

The pro-PAS faction has a point. The party is an invaluable ally, given its appeal to rural and conservative voters. Cutting ties with such a rich vote bank will only ensure that Pakatan Harapan will never reach Putrajaya. However, some pundits have framed the dissension as Azmin Ali’s grab for power, given that only Wan Azizah stands between him and the party presidency. (more…)

I’ll see you in court, Ling tells Najib

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

Former MCA president Dr Ling Liong Sik will not apologise for calling on Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to resign.

“I say to the prime minister, if you choose to sue me, I will defend myself. In all humility, I accept your challenge.

“I look forward to seeing the prime minister take the witness stand, as no doubt he would do if he says his reputation is at stake.

“I want to reiterate that I stand by what I said. I would not apologise,” he said in a statement yesterday. (more…)

‘Special parliamentary session for TPPA if needed’

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

The government will seek a special parliamentary session if necessary to ensure that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is tabled on time, International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said today.

He said that he is also looking at the first week of the coming parliamentary session to field questions from MPs regarding the controversial free trade agreement.

“We will need to get clarity on the dates. Our understanding is that (it is to be tabled in Parliament) within two months after the document is in the public domain.

“In the event if the document is revealed in early November, then two months would be early January. If that’s the case, it is going to be a special parliamentary session,” he told a press conference in Putrajaya. (more…)

Ramasamy: What about Malaysia’s 300,000 stateless people?

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

Penang Deputy Chief Minister P Ramasamy has condemned Putrajaya for its inconsistent stand against refugees in response to Prime Minister Najib Razak announcing Malaysia will accept 3,000 Syrian refugees.

“What about the Sri Lanka asylum seekers, the Rohingya refugees, and our very own stateless people?” Ramasamy asked at a press conference in Komtar today, after announcing that Penang will host an International Forum on Human Rights in Sri Lanka on Nov 21.

Ramasamy said Malaysia’s stand against the human rights atrocities against Tamils in Sri Lanka is disgraceful as the government has always taken the side of the Sri Lanka regime, deporting asylum seekers on grounds they are “terrorists”. (more…)

‘Court verdict on Sedition Act shrouds academia’

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

The Federal Court’s finding that the Sedition Act 1948 is constitutional places a shroud on academia, as the law can continue to be used to curb academic freedom, academia group Malaysian Academic Movement (Move) said.

The apex court found the law valid, following a constitutional challenge by Universiti Malaya (UM) law lecturer Azmi Sharom, who is facing a sedition charge after he weighed in on the 2009 Perak constutional crisis.

“We, as academics have a responsibility to share our expertise not only with our students and the academic community but also with the public at large.

“This is part of our required contribution to society. Academics are not robots that just do teaching and research. We must give back to society for giving us academic freedom,” its secretary-general Rosli H Mahat (photo) said. (more…)

‘Only foreigners or God can break Dr M vs Najib stalemate’

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

Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been trying to get rid of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for over a year.

But despite his relentless attacks, it appears that the battle has reached a stalemate and may require either the hand of God or foreigners to resolve.

“It is a stalemate now. It will continue with both sides trying to attack and counter-attack until the balance is tipped to one side’s favour.

“This will most likely happen with some external developments like foreign investigation or some divine arrangement,” political analyst Wong Chin Huat told Malaysiakini. (more…)

Will Umno still be supported by its founding members?

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

As a child, whenever I visited my late grandfather, I often gazed at the Umno membership certificate hanging on the wall of his wooden house.

A village chief in the district of Kuala Lipis, Pahang, my grandfather might have been among the founding members of the political party in the village.

Based on the history of Malay warriors’ resistance against the British residency system in the state, I guess my grandfather most likely joined Umno for its anti-colonialism struggle in the years before Merdeka.

In addition, there was also a picture of my grandfather with Najib Razak taken at the Kampung Mela train station in the early 1980s, when the latter was the menteri besar of Pahang. (more…)

TPPA nitty-gritty to be disclosed in a month

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

Details of the just concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will be revealed to the public in a month, along with the Cost Benefit Analysis reports, International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed promised today.

“In a month’s time, the contents of the agreement will be revealed to the public. The Cost Benefit Analysis will also be prepared and announced,” he said in a Facebook posting last night.

Both the TPPA and the analyses will be tabled in Parliament in two months, he added.

He also reminded that Malaysia has two years to ratify the agreement and in that period, is able to reject or accept the TPPA.

The TPPA is a sweeping trade agreement between 12 countries including Malaysia. (more…)

Malaysian banks race to pin down fleeing deposits

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

Bank deposits in Malaysia are growing at their slowest pace in more than a decade as retail funds flee to higher-yielding avenues, weakening banks’ buffers against any unforeseen funding needs at a time when the economy is losing steam.

Total deposits at commercial banks rose 4.8 percent in July, the least since September 2002, according to the latest central bank data. Growth is expected to slacken further, with banks offering unattractive interest rates of 3.1 to 4.0 percent per annum. Those rates are barely above the inflation rate of around 3.0. Most Malaysians still prefer property, equities and other investments than deposits, say analysts.

As deposits slow, banks’ loans-to-deposits ratio – a measure of their liquidity – crept to a record 89.3 percent at the end of July. Some of the bigger lenders such as Malayan Banking Bhd are currently operating at loan-to-deposit ratios above 85-90 percent, according to analysts. They expect the sector-wide ratio to rise further and liquidity to tighten, even as loan growth in the South-East Asian country slows due to a weaker economy. (more…)

Amanah says rulers’ signal Najib to quit, Arul Kanda zips lips

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

Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) deputy president Salahuddin Ayub believes that the Conference of Rulers’ stand on 1MDB is a clear signal for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to quit with immediate effect.

He said this is because Najib failed to convince all quarters, including the rulers regarding 1MDB and his personal issues.

“…. (the rulers’ statement) can be interpreted as advising Najib to quit as prime minister because he is unable to resolve the 1MDB issue and is affecting the nation’s economy.
“Amanah is convinced that the Conference of Rulers’ reprimand is to ensure that Putrajaya focuses on developing the nation and at the same time, repairs the economy following the weakening of the Ringgit,” he said in a statement. (more…)

Anger over TPPA deal as NZ still awaits full details

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

New Zealand’s main opposition political party said today it will not be bound by the controversial 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) if it comes to legislating on property ownership, reports China’s Xinhua news agency.

The Labour Party said it would reserve the right to legislate in the best interests of New Zealanders, as opposition politicians and critics of the newly-signed deal tried to assess its impacts.

The TPPA prohibits current and future governments from blocking foreign investment in most forms of property by citizens of signatory states.

At present, foreigners can buy any property in New Zealand unless it is sensitive land or some other category that comes under the control of the Overseas Investment Office. (more…)

Ali Tinju: Melaka Raya won’t be safe this Saturday

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

Organisers of a rally in Malacca issued a stern warning today that downtown Taman Melaka Raya will not be safe on Oct 10, the day of their rally.

Organiser and Malay army veterans association president Mohd Ali Baharom said this comes after “Chinese gangsters” assaulted an immigration officer on Oct 1.

The rally is called to protest the attack.

“Melaka Raya will not be safe on that day. This is my warning,” Mohd Ali, who is better known as Ali Tinju, said. (more…)

‘Sosma being used to terrify Umno members’

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

Former Umno supreme council member Saifuddin Abdullah says the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), which was used against Umno leader Khairuddin Abu Hassan, is now being used to silence party members from speaking up against the prime minister.

“Sosma has been used against Khairuddin simply because he is a politician from Umno.

“Top leaders from Umno want to make sure he shuts his mouth and to use it to strike fear in Umno members.

The leaders understand that at this moment in time, in all practicality, it is Umno that can bring down the prime minister,” Saifuddin told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today. (more…)

Sanusi told off for ‘pantsing’ and shaming Malays

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

An Umno lawmaker has slammed former Kedah menteri besar Sanusi Junid for shaming the Malays in front of other races.

Bagan Serai MP Noor Azmi Ghazali said this would only cause the other races, especially the Chinese to look down on the Malays.

“Why did he londeh seluar (pantsed the Malays) in public? I don’t agree with that. How can we instill unity when the other races only look at our race’s weakness?

“We want to create better racial ties, but he goes off and says that the Malays are willing to sell their dignity,” Noor was quoted as saying by BN Backbencher’s Club (BNBBC). (more…)

Ling, you will never walk alone

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

No one is above the law.

In a forum some months ago, I publicly defended the legal right of Prime Minister Najib Razak, and for that matter any political leader, to take legal action against anyone who makes deliberate and malicious defamatory remarks.

The private legal right of a politician should not be diminished nor denied merely because one is a political leader.

But singling out Ling Liong Sik for alleged defamation, on what is essentially a hotly debated public issue, is nauseating. (more…)

Set aside two days to discuss rulers’ statement, Parliament urged

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

The first two days of the Parliament’s budget session in late October should be used to discuss the statement by the Conference of Rulers yesterday, said DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang.

“It (the statement) encapsulated the three major concerns of all thinking and patriotic Malaysians: the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal, the parlous state of the rule of law and the fragile state of national unity in the country,” he said in a statement today.

The Conference of Rulers are “fully justified” in their concerns about the rule of law in Malaysia, he added.

Former Umno leader Khairuddin Abu Hassan’s arrest under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act and law professor Azmi Sharom being charged with the Sedition Act are just two examples of “malicious and selective prosecutions and investigations”, Lim (photo) said. (more…)

Listen to sultans on 1MDB, ex-DPM tells Najib

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

Former deputy premier Muhyiddin Yassin has urged his ex-boss, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, to heed the call by the Conference of Rulers for the government to resolve the 1MDB imbroglio.

Muhyiddin said the Malay rulers would not have made a statement on 1MDB if it was not an issue of national importance.

“When the sultans commented on 1MDB it shows that their majesties believe it to be a huge issue, and shows their concern about the negative impact of the 1MDB issue on the people and country.

“The person who should uphold the sultan’s decree is the prime minister as the head of government. The responsibility to solve this issue ultimately rests on his shoulders,” he added in a statement today. (more…)

We’ll teach ‘manusia babi’ Loke a lesson, warns Jamal

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

Jamal Md Yunos is convinced that DAP lawmaker Anthony Loke uttered the words ‘Celaka punya Melayu’ (damn Malays) despite the latter having denied it.

The Sungai Besar Umno division chief has vowed to teach him a lesson although journalists reminded him of Loke’s denial.

“Loke is rude… I watched the YouTube video (recording) myself. A political leader and MP should not say that. The opposition denies everything, including ‘main belakang’ (sodomy).

“Loke is a ‘manusia babi’ (human pig). We will not ask for an apology. (more…)

Release details of TPPA, Abim urges gov’t

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

The Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim) called on the government today to reveal details of the just-concluded negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

This will help convince the people that the TPPA is beneficial for the country, Abim secretary-general Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said in a statement.

“The assurances by advocates of the TPPA should not remain merely as general pledges or simply vague promises offered,” Muhammad Faisal said.

Right now, the details of the agreement are shrouded in secrecy, he said, which caused uneasiness among the people. (more…)

Retired appeals court judge Hishamudin joins G25

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

Retired Court of Appeal judge Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus is the latest senior civil servant to join the G25 group of eminent Malays.

Asked to confirm whether it was true he joined the group, Hishamudin, who retired last month, replied with an emphatic “yes”.

He further said that he was formally invited into the group last Sept 30.

Known among the legal circles and recognised by Professor Emeritus Shad Saleem Faruqi as a judge with many landmark decisions, Hishamudin (photo) retired on Sept 9. (more…)

Do past convictions count? Anwar to know today

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

The High Court in Kuala Lumpur will decide tomorrow whether PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim can be quizzed on his previous convictions in reducing the assessment of damages in his suit against the Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia.

Justice Hue Siew Kheng fixed the date after hearing submissions from counsel Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin for Utusan and N Surendran for Anwar on the matter yesterday.

Firoz submitted that previous convictions can be raised for the assessment of damages to show bad character of the claimant.

“This has been provided for in the UK‎ and we should be allowed to question him,” he said. (more…)

Reject TPPA or risk lives, health advocates say

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

Parliaments in Asia Pacific must reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) as it is likely to extend patents and endager the lives of “hundreds of thousands” relying on crucial life-prolonging medications, advocates for people living with HIV/AIDS urge.

While the TPPA text set on Monday is still under wraps, the groups say leaks indicate it favours medical monopolies through extended patents on crucial drugs.

“APN+ members are in 6 of the TPPA countries – Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Japan – and will be among the first to face the consequences of the TPP on their health and lives…

“Any trade agreement that further strengthens the hands of the multinational pharmaceutical industry to play games with the lives and health of millions of patients in the Asia-Pacific region is immoral and unacceptable,” said Shiba Phurailatpam of Asia-Pacific Network of People living with HIV/AIDS (APN+) (more…)

A whopping 200k unemployed graduates in the country!

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

Some 200,000 graduates with degrees are currently unemployed in the country.

Some of them have been unable to secure gainful employment two years after graduating, according to a recent Utusan Malaysia report which quoted Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Shamsuddin Bardan.

Most of us are aware that securing a job in this economy is tough, but such a high figure of unemployed graduates is indeed a cause for concern.

“This number does not include graduates who will be completing their studies this year.

“The government and the private sector should work together to address this problem,” he said. (more…)

Growing fears of repeat of Asian financial crisis

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

South-East Asia has spent the best past of two decades shoring defenses against a repeat of the Asian financial crisis, including building up record foreign exchange reserves, yet is now feeling vulnerable to speculative attacks again.

Officials are growing increasingly concerned as souring sentiment has made currencies slide and investors reassess risk profiles in an environment where China is slowing and US interest rates will rise at some point.

And while economists have long dismissed comparisons with the 1997/98 currency crisis, pointing to freer exchange rates, current-account surpluses, lower external debt and stricter oversight by regulators, lately there has been a change.

Malaysia and Indonesia, which export oil and other commodities to fuel China’s factories, are looking vulnerable as the world’s second-largest economy heads for its slowest growth in 25 years and the prices of their commodity exports plunge. (more…)

Will Malaysia sign the TPP?

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

tppaOn October 4, 2015, negotiations for the above were concluded.

A couple months ago I expressed the hope that Malaysia would not sign it. I argued that even if we walked away we would not lose everything – the experience gained from the negotiations would be priceless.

As of today, our negotiators have not walked away.

From an American standpoint, the TPP is a compelling agreement. It includes the strongest commitments on labour and the environment of any trade agreement in history and those commitments are enforceable, unlike past ones. It would also entrench new international trade standards in Asia, and set a template should any other countries want to join.

For others, it is a dangerous blueprint for future agreements. (more…)

Anti-Azizah demo binned, now Jamal gets dengue ‘fever’

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

Jamal Md Yunos, who landed in the limelight during the Sept 16 red shirts rally, has called off the plan to hold a rally in Kajang against PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

The Sungai Besar Umno division chief is now targeting the Selangor administration under Menteri Besar Azmin Ali with regard to the dengue fever.

“We cannot sleep well because of dengue. Selangor is the highest and most glorious dengue case contributor.

“Congratulations (to the state government) for breeding Aedes mosquitoes by using (former MB) Khalid Ibrahim’s funds,” Jamal told reporters today outside the Ampang Jaya district police headquarters. (more…)

PAS wants to talk about ‘no confidence’ motion first

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

PAS will support the vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak that Opposition Leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail plans to table in the coming sitting of Parliament – as long as there is a discussion on it first.

PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said the party’s MPs are always ready to consider matters raised by their colleagues on the opposition bench, but these must first be discussed in detail.

“PAS is open to discussing the motion of no confidence, but it is far too soon to say whether or not we will support it. We must first look at the motion. For example, is it just a motion calling for the PM to step down?” Takiyuddin, who is PAS parliamentary whip, told Malaysiakini. (more…)

Dr M: I never stopped Ku Li from challenging me

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

Dr Mahathir Mohamad today decried what he claimed to be an attempt within Umno to stop him from speaking out against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

The former premier said when he was Umno president, he never stopped Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (photo) and Musa Hitam from campaigning against him during the Umno leadership crisis in the 1980s.

“They (Tengku Razaleigh and Musa) wanted to go against me and Ghaffar (Baba) to ensure I will not be Umno president and therefore, not prime minister. They wanted to topple me.

“I did not stop them from campaigning among Umno members and Umno members did not bar me from attending the campaigns,” he said on his blog. (more…)

Malaysia Stumbles Toward Financial Crisis

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

Malaysia Stumbles Toward Financial CrisisA perfect storm of bad economic news appears about to inundate a rudderless government in Malaysia as political squabbling paralyzes leaders, according to sources in Kuala Lumpur. Fiscal revenues are going through the floor, the currency is diving and inflation has risen from 0.1 percent in February to 3.3 percent in July and is expected to rise.

With a huge projected fiscal deficit and steep bond indebtedness, the country may be faced with borrowing on the international markets. But with a sliding currency and allegations of massive corruption threatening the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak, borrowing costs are likely to be through the roof.

Most observers in Malaysia believe that Najib remains insulated from political overthrow by the paid for loyalty of the 192 United Malays National Organization cadres in the Barisan Nasional, or national ruling coalition. But a major financial crisis could change the equation. (more…)

‘If Dr M is a real man, then battle Najib in Pekan’

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

If Dr Mahathir Mohamad is an anak jantan (courageous), he should challenge Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in the Pekan parliamentary seat, said Malay army veterans association president Mohd Ali Baharom.

He was responding to Mahathir’s call that voters in Pekan should not support Najib in the next general election.

“I challenge Mahathir to contest in Pekan,” Mohd Ali, who is popularly known as Ali Tinju, told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.

Najib has been the MP of Pekan since 1976. (more…)

Changes in labour laws may be required due to TPPA

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

Malaysia may need to make changes to its labour laws if it is to sign onto the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), said the International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed.

He added that Attorney-General Apandi Ali (photo) is currently conducting a study on the rules, regulations, and laws that would need to be changed as a result of TPPA’s ratification.
“Once the (TPPA) document is finalised, we will get to know how many rules and regulations need to be changed, and how many laws require amendments,” he told a press conference in Putrajaya today, while stressing that there would be no constitutional changes.

Mustapa explained that TPPA requires its signatories to ‘adopt and maintain’ labour laws that are in accordance to the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) standards. (more…)

‘Rulers have spoken, will Najib commit lese majeste?’

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

The Conference of Rulers wants the investigation into 1MDB to be completed as soon as possible and action be taken against those who have committed wrongdoings.

Commenting on this development, veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin asked if Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak would adhere to the decree or commit lese majeste.

He also described this as a test for attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali, inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Abu Kassim Mohamed, Bank Negara governor Zeti Akthar Aziz and the Public Accounts Committee. (more…)

Cops: Saturday Malacca rally illegal, disrespectful

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

Any rally held in Malacca this Saturday will not only be unlawful but it will also be disrespectful to the state’s governor.

Malacca police chief Chua Ghee Lye said this was because Governor Mohd Khalil Yaakob will be holding a state awards ceremony in conjunction with his official birthday celebration on Saturday.

“Holding a rally on that particular day is disrespectful to the governor. We should be celebrating his birthday in peace.

“Any rally will also be unlawful as it is not in compliance with the Peaceful Assembly Act,” Chua told Malaysiakini today. (more…)

October 7, 2015

Fear stalks Sarawak’s new voters

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

As I work closely with NGOs and relevant bodies in Sarawak to register new voters, I found something unique in their goodwill and sincerity to change Sarawak’s political landscape.

When we knocked from one door to another to ask whoever was 21 years old and above to register themselves as voters, I said to one of the volunteers that “it is so fortunate that we come to force the people to make a change”. And we all laughed.

In the Dayak Bidayuh areas, I found it difficult to change the mindset of the youths toward change. I have yet to find a relevant statistic and report on the number young voters and their trend in Sarawak, but what I’ve found in the electoral roll from the Election Commission is that there are only 10 to 20 registered young voters in the Tarat constituency.

That is only the average compared to thousands of youths in Tarat. The number of newly-registered voters is discouraging, while the current affairs of Malaysian politics is getting severe. (more…)

Bid to challenge S’wak seat redelineation to be heard Oct 13

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

The Federal Court has fixed next Tuesday to hear the leave application by Batu Lintang assemblyperson See Chee How to challenge the Election Commission’s re-delineation of state constituencies in Sarawak.

The apex court also fixed Oct 13 to also listen to See’s stay application of the Court of Appeal’s decision of Aug 7, which ruled the Sarawak consttituency redelineation exercise as valid.

The Court of Appeal decision overturned an earlier decision by the Kuching High Court that ruled the redelineation to be illegal and null and void.

This has resulted in the EC wanting to present it’s report on the redelineation to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak before the Parliament session opens on Oct 19. (more…)

Tale of two Sarawak settlements a test of promise to natives

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

Kampung Muk Ayun in Bengoh, Sarawak, surrounded by land belonging to the local Dayak community for many generations. – The Malaysian Insider pics by Seth Akmal, October 6, 2015.Kampung Muk Ayun in Bengoh, Sarawak, surrounded by land belonging to the local Dayak community for many generations. – The Malaysian Insider pics by Seth Akmal, October 6, 2015.About 45 minutes from Kuching are two Bidayuh settlements whose stories reflect how critical the growing land rights movement is towards securing a better future for Sarawak’s tribes.

The tale of how the villagers of Upper Bengoh stood up for their land rights is being repeated across Sarawak and could challenge a key promise made by new Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem as he tries to get his first electoral mandate in state elections due early next year.

Adenan has promised to do more to protect ancestral land claims, or Native Customary Rights (NCR) land, a key issue among the Dayak community who are the biggest bloc of voters in Sarawak. (more…)

Sarawakians should be wary of the ‘Trojan Horse’

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

If the ban on Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua is any yardstick, opposition parties from Malaya namely DAP, PKR and PAS will not be able to bring in their Malayan bosses to help them in their campaign in the coming state election.

Chief Minister Adenan Satem has not explicitly said why Pua is banned, but the reason seems to be that opposition politicians like Pua are best kept out of Sarawak to prevent them from stirring up racial sentiments and disrupting the social harmony in the state.

Under the state government’s immigration autonomy, Adenan has every right to bar any non-Sarawakian from entering the state if he has reasons to believe such person is a threat to the general peace and harmony. (more…)

API readings fudged? Let’s compare with S’pore, Thailand

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

In my article yesterday, I made the assertion that the disconnect between Malaysian’s Air Pollutant Index (API) and the reality on the ground is not due to the manipulation of numbers.

I had gone on to put forth a more plausible explanation for the dissonance, but never quite found the space to explain why I do not believe there is a cover-up taking place.

I was not parroting government statements on the matter.

Instead, thanks to the wealth information provided by our Thai and Singaporean neighbours, it is actually possible for me to verify this, at least for our monitoring stations near the borders.

By the end of this article, you can too. (more…)

Ministry bars DAP from helping villagers build water system

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

The Health Ministry’s directive to stop the villagers of Kampung Sangai Empani in the Serian district from seeking assistance from Sarawak DAP to construct its gravity feed system smacks of politicking.

“The Ministry of Health is putting the Barisan Nasional’s political interest over and above the sufferings of the people of Kampung Sangai Empani, by denying the villagers their right to water.

“This selfish interest of BN shows that it will go to any extent, by hook or crook, to maintain its grip on political power, even to the extent of sacrificing the people,” said Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen. (more…)

Malay rulers demand Putrajaya punish culprits in 1MDB scandal

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

Officers from the special task force remove a CPU and a box from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad's office at Menara IMC in Kuala Lumpur, July 8, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat IsaThe Conference of Malay Rulers today directed Putrajaya to ensure that 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) is thoroughly investigated and for those found guilty of wrongdoing to be punished.

In a statement issued by the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, the sultans also said that investigations must be made public in order to show that nothing was being hidden in the probe on the state-owned investment firm.

“The findings of the investigation must be reported comprehensively and in a transparent manner so that the people will be convinced of the sincerity of the government which shall not at all conceal facts and the truth,” read the statement. (more…)

1948 Sedition Act is valid, Federal Court rules

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

The Federal Court ruled today that the Sedition Act 1948 is valid under the Federal Constitution.

Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria, who led five-member bench that included the top three in the judiciary, said the intention of the framers of the constitution is to ensure the existing (pre-Merdeka) law is valid and continues to be valid and enforceable.

“Hence, we answer the (second question) on whether the Sedition Act is valid under the Federal Constitution as ‘in the positive’,” Justice Ariffin said in announcing the decision.

The other judges sitting with him were Court of Appeal President Md Raus Sharif, Chief Judge of Malaya Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin and Federal Court judges Abdull Hamid Embong and Suriyadi Halim Omar. (more…)

Minister: Malaysia’s TPPA concerns, sensitivities considered

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

The just-concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations agreed to take into consideration almost all of Malaysia’s concerns and sensitivities, such as government procurement, state-­owned enterprises and bumiputera issues.

International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said elements of flexibility accorded to Malaysia included longer transition periods and differential treatment for the country’s sensitive areas.

“Let me reiterate that whether or not Malaysia becomes a party to the TPPA will be a collective decision.

“Once the complete and the official text of the agreement is prepared, it will be in the public domain and presented to Parliament for debate. (more…)

Obey rule of law, sultans remind leaders

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

The Rulers Conference has reminded the country’s leaders to obey the rule of law.

According to Bernama, the sultans also want justice to be dealt out fairly and transparently.

“The Malay rulers wish to remind all leaders to uphold the constitution and the rule of law at all times, as written in the Rukun Negara.

“To ensure that the government is trusted, its leaders respected, political stability maintained, and continued economic growth, all leaders must also at all times ensure that justice is dealt fairly and transparently in accordance with the law,” they said in a joint statement today. (more…)

Student group worries about gov’t handling of TPPA

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

A student group has expressed doubts over the government’s ability to handle the just-concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia (PKPIM) said it is not satisfied with the “script-like” answers given by International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed on the TPPA.

“How can we feel confident in the country’s abilities to handle TPPA when the government can’t even handle the economy and the big political scandals involving the country’s highest leadership?” PKPIM president Mohammad Fazril Mohd Saleh asked in a statement today.

“This is also an issue that could be raised with foreign investors in the Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in the TPPA,” he added. (more…)

National schools should adopt vernacular language subjects

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

It pays to know another language.

More than coming in handy overseas or in business and employment, mastery of another language opens a whole new world of possibilities.

It can even help save a life.

A recent report by The Star Online highlighted this.

According to the report, one fireman’s fluency in Mandarin became an advantage in talking a man out of committing suicide. (more…)

Groups: Access to medicine will be worse under TPPA

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

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will cause access to medicine to become worse in developing countries, said international NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

“The big losers in the TPPA are patients and treatment providers in developing countries,” said MSF Access campaign US manager and legal policy adviser Judit Rius Sanjuan in a statement yesterday.

MSF is also disappointed that the 12 countries agreed to the demands in the TPPA from the United States and multinational drug companies that will see the rise of the cost of medicine, he said.

This will happen, he explained, through the unnecessary extension of monopolies and the further delay of price-lowering generic competition. (more…)

Twelve countries clinch deal on TPPA, say reports

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

Pacific trade ministers have reached a deal on the most sweeping trade liberalisation pact in a generation that will cut trade barriers and set common standards for 12 countries, an official familiar with the talks said today.

Leaders from a dozen Pacific Rim nations are poised to announce the pact later today. The deal could reshape industries and influence everything from the price of cheese to the cost of cancer treatments.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) would affect 40 percent of the world economy and would stand as a legacy-defining achievement for US President Barack Obama (photo), if it is ratified by Congress.

Lawmakers in other TPPA countries must also approve the deal. (more…)

‘Safe passage’ for Najib when the RM rings hollow?

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

Former New Straits Times group editor-in-chief Kadir Jasin raised a good point for discussion that we should provide a ‘safe passage’ for embattled Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in order for him to step down.

I agree with the veteran newsman that if the “present political and economic crises are not immediately solved, we could become like Greece or worse like Zimbabwe.”

But this is only part of the story. To be precise, there are no simple solutions to a complicated scandal involving the country’s chief, that is, if Najib is guilty, as some allege.

I, too, believe this is where we are heading to as a country, if Najib chooses to hang on to his office indefinitely. If we allow this to drag on, soon we may be staring at a ringgit that rings hollow. (more…)

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