Hornbill Unleashed

July 4, 2015

Two dams too many, Sarawakians’ sanity barely afloat

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

Adenan Satem is asking for another five years because he thinks he can do a lot to make Sarawakians happy before he calls it a day, by which time he will be 84, or 85?

Like I said many times in the past, yes, the chief minister of Sarawak is a very powerful man.

You will be surprised how very powerful a person can be if he is the chief minister. He can do many things that others can’t, even moving mountains and stretching boundaries.

Adenan hasn’t started doing that, but the guy before him did a lot to the mountains and boundaries. He not only moved and stretched them, but drowned them, caused them to be flooded until you can no longer recognise the land. (more…)

Sarawak Dayak National Union too weak to unite Dayaks

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

When William Mawan spoke about wanting to get Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) to work towards uniting the Dayaks, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

While SDNU, which Dayaks loved to be associated with in the 60s and 70s right up to the early 80s,  looks like a perfect unity vehicle, Mawan doesn’t come across as the right Dayak to speak of Dayak unity, even via SDNU.

SDNU has always been there for Dayaks, but the same cannot be said for most of its leaders, past or present. (more…)

Could this be the Smoking Gun for Malaysia’s PM?

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

Could this be the Smoking Gun for Malaysia’s PM?

Now what, honey?

Najib said by Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report to divert US$700 million in 1MDB funds into his own accounts.

The publication today, Friday July 3, of devastating articles in the Wall Street Journal and the Sarawak Report tying Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to the diversion of nearly US$700 million from the state-backed 1Malaysia Development Bhd into his own accounts could be the final blow to bring down a leader who has been bullet proof from years of charges against his integrity. (more…)

How much taxes have Najib, 1MDB, Jho Low paid, asks Dr Mahathir

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

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants to know if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the executives in 1Malaysia Development Bhd paid their taxes or were exempt from doing so. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, July 3, 2015.Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today questioned if the Inland Revenue Board has investigated the taxes paid by certain high-profile individuals including the prime minister and executives in 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and businessman Low Taek Jho.

In his latest blog posting, the former prime minister said that of late, there has been some selectivity in the focus of the “income tax people”.

He added that while the executives in government-owned state fund 1MDB were paid high salaries, Datuk Seri Najib Razak was not paid anything as adviser to 1MDB, but said the government paid allowances, including utility and transportation bills for the prime minister. (more…)

PM threatens full force of law against critics

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

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak today threatened to use the “full force of law” against critics who had accused him of stealing state funds.

He issued the ultimatum after accusing former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad of masterminding the allegations against him.<

“Those who continue to mount these attacks should be prepared to face the consequences of their actions.

“These gutter tactics – in some cases, criminal tactics – to overthrow the government will fail. (more…)

Malaysian PM dismisses funds report as ‘political sabotage’

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

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Friday dismissed as “political sabotage” a report that a probe into a state-owned investment fund had found hundreds of millions of dollars were transferred to his personal bank accounts.

The investment vehicle, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), denied any wrongdoing after the Wall Street Journal said that nearly $700 million moved through government agencies, banks and companies linked to the fund before ending up in Najib’s accounts.

The newspaper cited documents it said it had obtained, including bank transfer forms and flow charts prepared by government investigators as the basis for its report. (more…)

MACC pledges professional probe on Najib

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

The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission pledges there will be an independent and professional investigations into allegations that millions of ringgit from 1MDB were deposited into Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s bank accounts through proxies.

In a statement this evening, MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Mohd Shukri Abdull (photo) said looking at the media reports, particular on one of the transactions involving SRC International Sdn Bhd, it found that elements brought up are within the ambit of MACC’s authority.

“This issue falls within it and becomes the basis of MACC investigations in line with the MACC Act 2009. We have already begun a probe into the matter.” (more…)

Dr M: Why hasn’t tax dept raided Seri Perdana?

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

Has the taxman ever paid a visit to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak?

That’s the question posed by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who wants to know how much the Inland Revenue Board has collected from Najib.

“The income tax people are always on the lookout for people who live beyond their means. They would raid these people and would force them to pay additional tax, should they feel that the culprits have not paid up fully on their wealth. (more…)

Investigators Believe Money Flowed to Malaysian Leader Najib’s Accounts Amid 1MDB Probe

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

Information from doctored documents?

Prime Minister Najib’s bank accounts are scrutinized during investigation of investment fund 1MDB

Malaysian investigators scrutinizing a controversial government investment fund have traced nearly $700 million of deposits into what they believe are the personal bank accounts of Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak, according to documents from a government probe. (more…)

Let ‘Three Tuns’ decide Najib’s fate

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

In view of the latest allegations, an opposition leader has called on Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to step up to the plate and tell his boss, Najib Abdul Razak, to go on leave.

Following this, Lim Kit Siang said a three-person committee of national elders, comprising two former premiers “Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and ex-deputy prime minister, Tun Musa Hitam”, should decide whether and the conditions on which Najib should return to resume the top post.

Malaysians unimpressed by PMO’s response to WSJ report

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

Datuk Seri Najib Razak has received billions in his personal bank accounts from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, says The Wall Street Journal.  – The Malaysia Insider file pic, July 3, 2015.Social media users appeared to be neither impressed nor convinced by Putrajaya’s statement refuting The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report which alleged that Datuk Seri Najib Razak had billions of ringgit transferred into his accounts.

Facebook users have been berating the prime minister on his profile page on the social network all day in their comments on the official statement issued by his office this morning.

There was no shortage of anger, irritation and sarcasm in the more than 400 comments on Najib’s Facebook page within two hours of the statement’s posting. (more…)

Will MACC investigation into WSJ allegations yield action?

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

At least one government authority involved in the operation probe of state-investment arm 1MBD has confirmed obtaining documents linked to alleged deposit of nearly US$700 million into what is believed are personal bank accounts of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

This is despite both 1MDB and the Prime Minister’s Office’s attempts to raise doubt over the existence of the documents and its credibility, as reported by American financial daily The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and UK-based whistleblower website Sarawak Report on July 3. (more…)

Najib didn’t take our money, insists 1MDB

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

1MDB and its subsidiary, Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd, insisted in two separate statements today that none of its funds went to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

1MDB said this in response to a report in The Wall Street Journal(WSJ) today that said almost US$700 million in funds from 1MDB went into Najib’s personal bank accounts.

“In reference to media reports published earlier today, 1MDB wishes to make clear that the company has never provided any funds to the prime minister. (more…)

Najib refutes WSJ report, blames Dr Mahathir

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

A screengrab of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s latest Facebook posting. – July 3, 2015. Datuk Seri Najib Razak has come out to refute what he termed as unsubstantiated and outrageous allegations against him and his family, saying he had never taken funds for personal gains from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) or any other entities.

In his latest Facebook posting, Najib said the false allegations were part of a concerted campaign of political sabotage to topple a democratically elected prime minister.

He added that these attacks began when he refused to implement Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s personal demands, adding that the former prime minister then “created a crisis” by recklessly claiming that RM42 million was missing from 1MDB. (more…)

Embezzlement claim: ‘PM has to step down now’

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

Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) member Tony Pua has called on the cabinet to insist that Najib Abdul Razak takes leave as prime minister while startling allegations of embezzlement against him are investigated.

“This is already considered a gentle call. In any other developed democracies, the prime minister would have resigned in a situation like this,” Pua, who is Petaling Jaya Utara MP, said.

A report by The Wall Street Journal today says Malaysian investigators have traced nearly US$700 million paid into what they believe are personal bank accounts of Najib. (more…)

Najib: Dr M masterminded claim I stole 1MDB’s money

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

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak today accused former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad of masterminding the latest allegation of him siphoning money from 1MDB.

“The latest allegation is that I have taken state-linked funds for personal gain.

“I believe Tun (Mahathir), working hand in glove with foreign nationals, including the now discredited political attack blog Sarawak Report, is behind this latest lie,” he said in a statement tonight. (more…)

WSJ: 1MDB’s RM2.6b found in ‘PM’s accounts’

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

In another sensational expose, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported today that Malaysian investigators have traced nearly US$700 million of deposits into what they believe are personal bank accounts of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

WSJ cited documents from a government probe, which both the international financial newspaper and whistleblower websiteSarawak Report have obtained.

According to WSJ, the investigation documents mark the first time Najib has been directly connected to  investigation into the troubled state investment fund. (more…)

Queries, queries and more queries on Mara scandal probe

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

As more details on Majlis Amanah Rakyat’s (Mara) property purchases begin to surface, one MP has questioned the authorities’ handling of the controversial deals.

In a report by The Malaysian Insider, DAP lawmaker Tony Pua asked if it was “normal practice” for the police to “abdicate” their responsibilities to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and criticised them for their “relaxed attitude” about the matter.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar had said that the police would wait for the MACC to let them know if there were any elements of Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT) in the case. (more…)

July 3, 2015

PKR-DAP clash on the cards in Sarawak polls if Pakatan troubles unresolved

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

PKR’s Baru Bian says his party is prepared to face its former Pakatan Rakyat ally if necessary although he hopes this would can be avoided. ― File picPKR and DAP may end up on a collision course in the coming Sarawak elections if both parties fail to iron out their differences, state PKR chief Baru Bian said.

The leader said his party is prepared to face its former Pakatan Rakyat (PR) ally if necessary although he hopes this would can be avoided.

“I hope it will not come to that stage because our common enemy is the state Barisan Nasional (BN), not our fellow opposition parties,” he told reporters.

“It is our intention for the opposition to face the BN in straight fights in all the state seats,” he said after chairing the Sarawak PKR liaison committee meeting here. (more…)

Adenan has final say, so why bother traders and rural folk?

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

We live in a volatile period in this part of the world – everything you hear, read, see and think about is about politics. There has been an overload of politicking in the country, something unprecedented in our recent history.

Every morning, we are bombarded by headlines screaming of yesterday’s natural disaster somewhere in the world, the continuing state of a medical epidemic, some massive accident involving train, plane or vehicles, or the passing of some public figure.

However if one were to count the percentage of news devoted to politics, public outcries, rebuttals, and to press releases from both the government, the opposition and the independents – more than half the daily news is devoted to them. Sports, entertainment and news of celebrities take a back seat to such news items.

Focusing on local news from Sarawak, what’s been trending these days is news of politicians from all sides trying to scrumble (a rugby term) a position and an inside track – aimed towards the forthcoming state elections due by June 2016.

Suddenly, everyone is offering a willing ear for the usually ignored and disfranchised petty trader or longhouse dweller. It’s now the in-thing for a candidate to be to be photographed with groups of loosely formed small time businessmen or clansmen at gatherings or at the close of Gawai celebrations.

We have witnessed the jostling for candidature recently – which will go on for some time, until the candidate is picked – between political figures within the political parties here – SUPP vs UPP, SPDP vs Teras, and even among PBB between its veterans and some wannabes.

Opportunistic independents hoping to be spoilers have also prematurely announced their candidacy, picking constituencies where they foresee three- or multi-cornered fights.

All this is not new, and its novelty is fading, after having been practised at so many elections in the past. Many of the more educated, well-read and better experienced voters in our midst have already wised up to the political schemes, selfish dealings and devilish manoeuvrings.

Yet, old habits tend to be hard to break. Here are just a few recent cases:

Anthony Nogeh Gumbek

First, UPP championing the cause of the MJC petty traders and hawkers at the Thursday weekly market, by forcing the Padawan Council (controlled by SUPP) to delay their ‘forced move to a new location’ by six months.

They hope that elections would have been called by the end of the period, falling which they will fight for another extension. At the end of the day, they still have to move. It’s only a delay tactic at best.

The reason behind it all? Both SUPP and UPP are vying for the Batu Kawah state seat, last held by SUPP until an upset win by DAP at the last election in 2011.

Second, longhouse chiefs in the Meradong constituency have apparently been warned by SUPP heads to not entertain UPP members from ‘campaigning’ in their areas. Yes, again another hotbed of possible strong rivalries between UPP and SUPP members is apparent here.

Third, at Engkilili in Sarawak’s Second Division, which used to be a SUPP stronghold, Ngu Ping Siew of UPP opined that the area was “no longer their (SUPP) turf” as the people were very supportive of Dr Johnicol Rayong, who is with United People’s Party (UPP). Ngu accused Sri Aman assemblyman Francis Hardin from SUPP of coming in to disturb them.

Fourth, SPDP’s secretary-general Anthony Nogeh Gumbek said that it was natural for Teras deputy president Peter Nansian, being the incumbent, to insist that he is the most winnable candidate.

But Anthony insisted on stating, “We are saying the seat is traditionally held by SPDP, and it will be given to SPDP as a component of BN. We have winnable candidates too!”

If these examples weren’t enough, it would also appear that PBB itself is split by factions supporting SUPP/SPDP and Teras/UPP.

The state elections is still 11 months away, and as the date in July 2016 creeps nearer one can foresee even more politicking ahead.

It makes for rather lively news reporting, and become a hot topic for coffee shop gossip and speculation. The final say, however, will still come from Adenan Satem, who will, like his predecessor before him, has to make the decisive casting vote as to who will stand and who will be dropped.

And no amount of politicking will matter then.—- Edgar Ong

Dress sensibly, but Sarawakians say no to Islamic fashion code

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

Security guards at the SUK building barred Prema (right) and Tan entry last week, telling them to drape sarongs over their knee-length dresses. ― Facebook screencapIslamic values are not the only yardstick for sensible dressing, Sarawakians said today in the wake of a recent trend to police the attire of non-Muslims at public institutions.

The Sarawakians of diverse colour and creed were weighing in on a spate of incidents this year where non-Muslims in peninsular Malaysia who exposed their legs — seen as part of a person’s “aurat” in Islam — were forced to cover up before being allowed to carry out their business at government agencies and other public spaces.

Muslim lawyer Jamilah Baharuddin said people, especially women, should dress appropriately if they have business at government departments and not wear anything too short or revealing.Media relations and corporate communications manager Ahadiah Zamhari said she has many friends from peninsular Malaysia who admire Sarawak for its broad acceptance of different cultures and religions. (more…)

Sarikei’s famed park in pathetic shape, needs urgent facelift

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

Once the pride of Sarikei and the central region of Sarawak, the Sebangkoi Country Park located 26km from the town along the Pan Borneo Trunk Road now lies in tatters after years of neglect.

According to information on the official  Sarikei District Council (SDC) website, Sebangkoi Country Park covers an area of approximately 32.9 acres and it is 20 minutes’ drive from Sarikei town, about an hour’s drive from Sibu, Sarawak’s commercial town.

It is still listed as one of the few places of interest for visitors to Sarikei. The council generally describes the park as covered with lush forests and vegetation. And like all local councils, development and maintenance of parks and recreational grounds come under the purview of SDC. (more…)

1MDB trumpets Fitch upgrade

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

1MDB today trumpeted Fitch’s Rating’s upgrade of the country’s economic outlook despite claims that the Finance Ministry-owned company was weighing down the economy.

1MDB president and group executive officer Arul Kanda said Fitch Rating was briefed by 1MDB about its challenges prior to the upgrade.

“In relation to 1MDB, we had conversations with Fitch in advance of the upgrade, in which we discussed the company’s current situation and provided confidence on the measures being taken. (more…)

Govt to pay RM1.08b if toll rates not increased

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

Menteri-Kerja-Raya-Fadillah-Yusof,tolThe government is expected to pay RM1.08 billion in compensation to 23 concessionaires of 30 highways if there is no increase in toll rates, said Works Minister Fadillah Yusof.

He said the government was already paying a compensation of RM580 million at present without raising toll rates.

“If the toll rates are increased, this money (compensation) can be used for building roads, schools and hospitals. (more…)

Najib defends Tabung Haji land buy from 1MDB, says profitable

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

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak speaks during a breaking-of-fast event at the Kumpulan Karangkraf building in Shah Alam. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, July 2, 2015. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has defended Lembaga Tabung Haji’s purchase of a piece of land from controversial state investment vehicle 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), saying that it generated RM170 million in profit.

He said the land purchase was a profitable move that benefitted those keeping their money in the pilgrims fund.

“Before this, there was talk that Tabung Haji money was being used to save 1MDB.

“Actually it was a land purchase, a business move that has brought RM170 million in profit to Tabung Haji,” he said at a breaking-of-fast event with the press and bloggers in Shah Alam today. (more…)

Church’s goodwill gesture for Muslim community sparks hope

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

Malaysia is probably not the most positive place in the world right now.

It seems like more are becoming jaded with the prospects of life here – from the politics, to the economy, to worsening racial and religious relations.

But for many of us, leaving Malaysia for another country is not an option, let alone a desire.

It is still very much a great country with great people and united, we are capable of achieving great things. (more…)

PM: Some almost died to come here, so be grateful

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

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has urged Malaysians to be grateful with the nation’s progress and to drive home his point, cited the plight of Rohingyas.

He said Malaysians should not resort to tarnishing the country’s image.

He also reportedly cited a Hadith, where it is said that even if one observes all his or her prayers, the person would not be guaranteed a place in heaven if he or she slandered others, created conflicts, destroyed unity and instigated problems.

He said the fact that foreigners are attempting to enter Malaysia at all costs proved that the country’s economy was healthy. (more…)

Court orders speaker, three others to respond to injunction on hudud bill

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

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia along with three others have been instructed to file affidavits in response to an injunction application to stop the tabling of a private member's bill on hudud by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, July 2, 2015.Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and three others have been instructed to file affidavits in response to an injunction application to stop the tabling of a private member’s bill on hudud by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

Lawyer Siti Kassim, who represents the four plaintiffs, said the directive was made by court deputy registrar Nor Hasniah Abdul Razak last Friday during a case management.

“The defendants have been given until July 10 to file the affidavits before another case management is held on July 27,” she told The Malaysian Insider. (more…)

When Malays strip away their traditions and culture

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

The misuse of traditional Malay clothes in fashion has grown rampant in recent years, and it has indirectly had a negative impact on the Malay race itself. The decline in the standard of quality of traditional Malay outfits has been exacerbated by this phenomenon.

As Adilfitri draws near, the designs of baju melayu, baju kurung and other traditional Malay attire have grown so weird – all in the name of uniqueness – at the expense of authentic Malay designs, which have all but just
vanished. (more…)

Mara suspends 2 officials involved in Aussie property buy

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

Mara chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa speaks to the press  about the controversial property buys in Australia at the agency’s headquarters in Jalan Raja Laut, Kuala Lumpur, today. – The The Malaysian Insider pic by Kamal Ariffin, July 2, 2015.Two officials from Majlis Amanah Rakyat’s (Mara) investment arm, Mara Inc, have been suspended over their involvement in contentious Australian property deals.

The government agency also appointed international auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to scrutinise the acquisition of Mara Inc assets overseas.

Mara chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa said today Mara Inc Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Mohammad Lan Allani and chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Rahman would be relieved of their duties pending investigation into the property deals. (more…)

Secrecy in determining oil prices fuelling anger of people

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

There is something seriously wrong with the “People First” administration in this country.

Secrecy seems to be the order of the day, especially when it comes to petrol prices.

First on June 30, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Hasan Malek announced that the authorities will no longer notify the public about the changes in fuel price and will only notify retailers at midnight on the last day of the month.

He justified the move by saying that the change of petrol prices has become a routine affair following the implementation of the managed float system for the prices of petrol and diesel from Dec 1 last year. (more…)

Najib: Difference in opinions welcome, lies are not

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

najib,malaysiaPrime Minister Najib Tun Razak stressed that differing opinions is not a problem as long as it is based on facts and is constructive in nature.

However, he said it becomes a problem when there are certain quarters who disseminate news which can create doubt and erode the confidence of the people in the government.

“A review found that some of the opinions were baseless or off target…This is the challenge in the new environment especially the media practitioners because they are chasing news.

“They want to be the first in the news because (some) want to form perceptions, not to ensure accuracy of news, it (accuracy) is as if it is secondary. When a perception is formed, it is very hard to scrape it off,” he said. (more…)

No truth, no transparency then don’t expect people’s trust

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

Truth and transparency are words not commonly associated with politicians in general, and of late, Malaysians on both sides of the divide are growing ever more distrustful of their leaders.

Much of this sentiment is attributed to a long series of bad decisions that stemmed from a lack of strong leadership in both Barisan Nasional and now defunct opposition coalition of Pakatan Rakyat.

Both sides are busy pointing fingers at the other while conveniently trying to cover up the mess their own houses are in. (more…)

July 2, 2015

S’wak to get RM450m from Petronas over five years

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


Chief Minister Adenan Satem said this indicated that Petronas was a responsible and generous corporate citizen.

He was speaking at a function here where Petronas chairman Sidek Hassan announced a contribution of RM90 million to the state this year.

“Petronas has always been a regular contributor to our economy and has even gone to the extent of rescuing the nation at a time of acute economic setback,” he said.

He however added that the state would continue to pursue its negotiations with Petronas for its oil royalty to be increased to at least 20%. (more…)

Not for non-Muslims to remove temptation with dress codes, says PKR Sarawak

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

PKR Sarawak chief Baru Bian urges Putrajaya to respond to arbitrary enforcement of Islamic-compliant dress codes at various government offices. – The Malaysian Insider filepic, June 30, 2015.It is not the duty of non-Muslims to remove temptation from Muslims by following dress codes and refraining from eating in their presence during Ramadan, PKR Sarawak chairman Baru Bian said today, as he urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to deal with such attempts to “Islamise” Malaysia.

Baru said arbitrary enforcement of Islamic-compliant dress codes at various government offices and suggestions that non-Muslims not eat in the presence of Muslims during the fasting month to show respect were “signs of attempts by religious extremists to Islamise secular Malaysia”.

He urged Najib to be a prime minister for all Malaysians “instead of a beleaguered party chief struggling for survival”, the PKR leader said in reference to the ruling Barisan Nasional’s (BN) lead party, Umno. (more…)

Sarawak birds, mammals at risk of extinction from mega-dams, says study

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

A study by the University of California on the direct impact of three of Sarawak’s mega-dams on biodiversity has found that a number of mammals and birds on the critical and endangered species list would be affected, it said in a report handed to the Sarawak government over the weekend.

The clearing and flooding of forest lands to prepare for Sarawak’s three mega hydroelectric dams in Bakun, Murum and Baram has impacted on an estimated two-thirds of all tree and arthropod species.

Facing extinction are four tree and 35 arthropod species, the study, “Integrated long-term energy planning for rapidly developing economies: a case study of megaprojects in Borneo” said. (more…)

A ‘routine check’ after 31 years? What’s the real reason, Bible Society asks RoS

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

Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) board member Eugene Yapp and BSM honorary secretary Rev. Mathew K. Punnoose giving a statement on the Registrar of Societies (RoS) Selangor postponing their visit. — Picture by Choo Choy May The Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) questioned today the Registrar of Societies’ (RoS) assertion in wanting to perform a “routine check” of its premises here, saying there has been no such previous visit since its establishment in 1984.

According to BSM, RoS was scheduled to visit today, but had called it off at the last minute without giving any reason.

“BSM welcomes the proposed visit of the RoS in the spirit of transparency and accountability but we would like to know the reasons for such a ‘routine check’ under Section 63 which does not provide for it. (more…)

The Edge questions 1MDB’s claim of ready buyers for Air Itam, Pulau Indah land

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

1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) says it has received ‘significant expressions of interest’ in its Air Itam and Pulau Indah land parcels. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, July 1, 2015.Just hours ahead of Fitch Ratings’ announcement on its sovereign ratings review on Malaysia, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) president Arul Kanda Kandasamy said he was “pleased to update that [1MDB] has received significant expressions of interest in [its Air Itam and Pulau Indah] land parcels”.

“Accordingly, 1MDB intends to appoint an independent real estate consultant to assist in reviewing the various proposals. A further announcement providing an update on the progress will be made within the next two weeks,” his June 30 statement headlined “monetisation of Air Itam and Pulau Indah land” read.

Has 1MDB received actual proposals to buy the Air Itam and Pulau Indah land or is 1MDB merely saying it will name the independent consultant within a fortnight? Is 1MDB saying buyers for the Air Itam and Pulau Indah land will be named within two weeks? (more…)

Exemplary M’sians who inspire and give us hope

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

Najib Razak must feel like the wrong man, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is in jail and the Pakatan coalition has fragmented. This is what Umno Baru wanted, but at what cost?

In the end, Najib was as much a casualty of Umno Baru’s war against the Opposition; more importantly, Umno Baru’s infighting, which was caused by greed and the lust for power. In addition, Najib is being attacked by former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Umno Baru scandals, from all parts of the globe, have caused him further embarrassment.

When the judiciary jailed Anwar for five years, for sodomy, in February this year, it reduced his unifying influence on the component parties, PAS, DAP and PKR. The nation was deprived of a credible, experienced leader, who had once been a deputy PM, who was equally comfortable in international political circles and the kampung folk, who could pacify the diehards in DAP and PAS and was well-versed in the dirty tricks of Putrajaya politics. Admittedly, none of these elements ‘saved’ him from a jail-term. (more…)

Irregularities still in Sabah electoral roll after RCI advice, says Bersih

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

Electoral reforms group Bersih 2.0 says that irregularities are still found in the Sabah electoral roll, despite the government setting up a committee to tackle issues that were highlighted by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on immigrants in Sabah. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, July 1, 2015.Electoral reforms group Bersih 2.0 today said that irregularities are still found in the Sabah electoral roll, despite the government setting up a committee to tackle issues that were highlighted by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on immigrants in Sabah.

Despite RCI’s findings that hundreds of thousands of foreigners were issued identification cards in Sabah without following due procedure, Bersih said that not much has been done, and questioned the actions taken by the committee which was supposed to tackle the issues highlighted in the RCI.

“We want to stress that investigation and action based on the report must be conducted immediately,” a statement issued by the watchdog’s steering committee said today. (more…)

Explain 1MDB scandal instead of going after The Edge, Putrajaya told

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

The Edge owner Datuk Tong Kooi Ong has been warned by the Home Ministry after the business weekly published reports critical of 1Malaysia Development Berhad. – The Edge pic, July 1, 2015. Lawyers for Liberty is concerned about the Home Ministry’s move to issue a show-cause letter to The Edge over what Putrajaya alleged as “unverified” news that was published in the business weekly on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal, saying it is a clear attempt to silence the press.

Its executive director, Eric Paulsen, said it was clear cut that Putrajaya retaliated given that The Edge was critical of the scandal and instrumental in maintaining coverage of the billions unaccounted for in 1MDB.

He added that such authoritarian behaviour sent a “chilling message” to the press to self-censor on issues such as 1MDB, or else they may invite retaliation. (more…)

Putrajaya breathing down Bible Society’s neck

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

Coming so soon after Prime Minister Najib Razak assured Christians of moderation, the Registry of Society (ROS) is now threatening to crack down on the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM), merely on suspicions of acts “prejudicial to public peace, welfare, good order or morality in Malaysia”.

According to those familiar with the matter, ROS in an email notice told BSM that a ROS team would be at its office, between 1pm and 3pm tomorrow, but it did not state just what the BSM has done  to bring about the call at its office.

BSM was only told to get its membership roll, minutes of meetings and accounts ready for inspection by ROS. (more…)

Eh, are you fasting?

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

berpuasaRamadan is a special month of the year in Malaysia where Muslims are not allowed to eat and drink in public. To make sure this happens, minions are sent out by the religious authority. They roam among the public to ensure that no Muslim consumes food/water/cigarettes from dawn to sunset.

Joe, an Indonesian Christian friend of mine, frequently tells of being approached by religious officers during the puasa month while he dines in public. A few Chindian friends of mine share similar experiences. Thanks to their Malay features, they always end up being ambushed by officers of the religious department. (more…)

Shahbudin: Mara’s Aussie buys need forensic probe

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

Shahbudin-Husin_mara_sprm_the-age_now_600The authorities concerned, in the wake of the expose by The Age and the National Oversight and Whistleblowers (NOW), an NGO, should in fact be conducting an in-depth probe into the Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) and its investments in Australia, urged a political analyst.

“This is a test for the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) and a demonstration of how serious the government was in tackling corruption in the country,” said political analyst Shahbudin Husin in his latest blog posting.

“It’s not enough to have an ordinary investigation. In cases like these, there should be forensic accounting to get to the roots to expose whatever abuses may have taken place and bring the errant parties to justice.”

More autonomy pledge sounds insincere without UUCA abolition

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

Any promises by Prime Minister Najib Razak that the government is ready to empower local universities to make their own decisions will once again ring hollow unless followed through with amendments or abolishment of the University and University Colleges Act 1971.

While amendments to the Act passed in 2012 had (at least in theory) introduced greater freedom for students, the same cannot be said for those in academia.

Since 2012, the government had granted 12 local universities with an ‘autonomous’ status but critics noted that it was more of a ‘cosmetic’ upgrade without the substance needed to boost its rankings and performance. (more…)

Mara scandal – chance for MACC to vindicate itself

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

As more details begin to surface regarding the controversial Mara property deal in Australia, many are hoping that those responsible will face the music.

One such person is DAP strongman, Lim Kit Siang, who is hoping to see the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) vindicate itself and prove it isn’t a “toothless tiger”.

The Gelang Patah MP recently said it was futile for the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board to say that the MACC should be given room to conduct a full and thorough investigation into the deal and to urge all parties, including politicians to refrain from making statements which could jeopardise MACC’s image. (more…)

What is the future like for us under a new government?

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

Most race centric critics, commentators, writers and others always pose this question: what will happen to the Malays when a new government takes over or what will happen to the Chinese and Indians. The subject is always posed in ethnic terms.

It never occurs to them to ask what will happen to all Malaysians when there is a change in government. Since we practise a democratic system, the new government duly elected must have the backing of the people. In other words the people believe that the new government will bring them a better way of life.

It is wrong to equate an ethnic community to a single person. The community is not a solid homogenous entity. It comprises economic and cultural classes. They are quite diverse in nature.

July 1, 2015

Baru: Not non-Muslims’ job to remove ‘nafsu’

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

Sarawak PKR leader Baru Bian has criticised Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria for claiming that authorities imposing a dress code on non-Muslims out of “respect” for Muslims.

Harussani was reported by Malay Mail Online as stating that non-Muslims who do not cover their “aurat” in public would cause Muslims to commit a sin upon seeing exposed flesh, such as the thigh.

Baru said that Harussani’s comments were ludicrous because the mufti was suggesting that the responsibility of a Muslim’s religious obligations were now being placed on non-Muslims. (more…)

Don’t threaten Borneo Christians, Sarawak lawmaker warns ‘Islamisation champs’

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

PKR’s Baru Bian (pic) says Christians from the two Borneo states are still waiting for Najib to act like a prime minister for all Malaysians instead of a beleaguered party chief struggling for survival. ― File picChristians in Sarawak and Sabah may be patient but will not stand for threats against their constitutional freedoms by self-declared “champions of Islamisation”, PKR’s Baru Bian said today.

The lawyer and opposition lawmaker also claimed that the Christian community in the two Borneo states to be disappointed with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over his silence on the ongoing public controversy over calls for non-Muslims to refrain from eating in front of Muslims and the arbitrary enforcement of dress codes at public institutions in peninsular Malaysia.

“We in Sarawak and Sabah are sorely disappointed with him for his silence on these matters,” he said when commenting on some women who were barred from entering government buildings in the peninsula because they were wearing  “short skirts”. (more…)

Dayaks in SUPP should know party has no place for them

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

I am not a wee bit surprised if it is true that the Sarawak United People’s Party is faced with the possibility of its Dayak members resigning en masse over the party’s plan to appoint another deputy president, this time a Chinese.

Of course, SUPP will want to make that appointment because the party is now empowered to do that.

In fact, other than appointing a second deputy president who must be a Chinese, SUPP can do a lot of other things following a constitutional amendment approved by the Registrar of Societies last May. (more…)

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