UMNO President Zahid hit with 45 charges of CBT, money laundering and graft


KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been slapped with 45 charges at the Sessions Court here under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act.

The Umno president faces 27 counts under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act, 10 counts for committing breach of trust under Section 409 of the Penal Code and 8 counts of receiving bribe under Section 16 (a)(b) of MACC Act 2009.

The 27 charges under Amla involve RM72,063,618.15 , while the 10 CBT charges involve RM20,833,132.99 and the eight charges of corruption RM21,250,000.

He pleaded not guilty to all 45 charges.

Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi set bail at RM2mil to be paid in two instalments on Friday (Oct 19)

The court ordered RM1mil to be paid on Friday (Oct 19) and the balance before or on Oct 26.

The mention date has been fixed on Dec 14.

On Thursday, investigators arrested the 65-year-old former deputy president at 3.15pm.

Dr Ahmad Zahid was investigated over allegations of misappropriation of funds belonging to Yayasan Akal Budi, of which he is the chairman.

He is said to have used RM800,000 of the foundation’s money to settle his credit card bills. – The Star

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Related post:

Najib & his strong wife Rosmah with 17 charges in Court over money laundering

 

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Golden opportunity for DAP leaders to practise what they preached


In May this year, we voted for a change of government at both state and federal levels after 61 years of suffering under the yoke of Umno and its partners. We voted for hope and change.

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) parties went from being in the opposition to becoming the government of the day. When they were opposition politicians they could only voice their objections and concerns. But today they are in power to carry out what they hoped and fought for. Are they carrying out the trust that we placed in them?

Let us examine this in relation to the biggest project confronting the people of Penang (also one of the largest mega projects in Malaysia): the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), and more immediately, phase 1 of this plan – the proposed Penang Island Link 1 (PIL 1) and the LRT project. The PIL 1 is an extension of the aborted Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR).

What did our present Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow say when he was the opposition MP in 2002? “If the findings of the Halcrow Report are true, Dr Koh would be irresponsible in pushing the PORR through as this will not be a long-term solution to the traffic congestion on the island…”

There were two other minor reasons why Chow opposed the PORR: because it was a tolled road and no open tender was used to award the project. But these cannot be the main reasons for opposing it.

And what did Lim Kit Siang say on May 28, 2002?

“The nightmare of the Penang traffic congestion is likely to be back to square one, not in eight years but probably less than five years, after the completion of PORR.

“What Penang needs is an efficient public transport system based on sustainable transport policy, as PORR is not a medium-term let alone long-term solution to the traffic congestion nightmare on the island.”

Since these two DAP leaders could not be clearer on why they opposed construction of the PORR as it would not solve traffic problems, how does Chow now justify the PIL 1?

According to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the PIL 1, the consultants reported that by 2030 (between five and seven years after completion of PIL 1), traffic volume will reach up to 8,000 pcu/hour (passenger car unit) during evening peak hours.

Translated into layman’s terms, we would be back to square one in terms of traffic congestion. This was exactly what the transport report of 1998 by international consultant Halcrow said of PORR. Back then, Chow asked Koh Tsu Koon (then Penang’s chief minister) to disprove Halcrow’s findings. Today we ask Chow the same question.

Public policy must be based on scientific study, analysis and evidence, not on whims and fancies. (That is why the Penang state government funds the Penang Institute to provide sound policy analysis and advice.) If the EIA’s conclusion is that the PIL 1 will not solve traffic congestion in the medium and long term, then the chief minister must justify to the people of Penang on what other grounds he based his decision to spend RM8 billion on one highway that will not solve Penang’s traffic congestion and is fraught with safety risks, on top of financial, environmental, social and health costs. How should he explain his volte-face?

Lim Kit Siang made it clear that the only alternative is to have an efficient public transport system. This is a golden opportunity for these leaders to implement what they preached. The chief minister said at a town hall meeting on Sept 20 that the state is proposing a balanced approach to solving the transport problem: building roads and public transport.

Let us examine the actual facts.

1. Penang island presently has 2.8 times more highways on a per capita basis than Singapore (84m per 1,000 persons in Penang versus 30m per 1,000 persons in Singapore).

2. The state government under the PTMP is planning to build another 70km of highways, many of them elevated, marring the city landscape and thereby doubling our highway per capita to 4.5 times that of Singapore.

3. Presently Penang’s public modal share of transport is dismal at 5%, i.e., only 5% of people who travel use public transport, compared to 67% in Singapore.

From the above, it is clear that Penang’s transport situation today is totally tilted towards roads and against public transport. Hence a balanced approach must mean prioritising improvement of public transport and not the construction of more highways that encourage more private road use.

The primary objective of the PTMP is to raise public modal transport share to 40% by 2030. But spending RM15 billion on building highways in the first phase of the PTMP (RM8 billion on PIL 1 plus RM6.5 billion on the three paired roads and tunnel under the Zenith package) and RM8 billion on one LRT line is NOT a balanced approach.

In fact, under the Halcrow PTMP, an integrated public transport network consisting of trams, bus rapid transit, commuter rail and a new cross-channel ferry service was estimated to cost RM10 billion. But all these are shelved or relegated to future dates while priority is given to building highways. The chief minister must explain to the people of Penang why such an unbalanced approach is adopted. Is the policy based on scientific evidence or on other types of interests that we are unaware of?

The saying that “justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done” aptly applies in this case. The people of Penang must have clear and credible answers to dispel any possible misgivings.

I respect and have worked with Chow for the last 10 years on the Penang transport issue.

I recall what he told Koh: that if the findings of the EIA report are true then Koh would be irresponsible in pushing the PORR.

Now, in the case of PIL 1, the arguments are even stronger that this will not be a long-term solution to the traffic congestion on the island.

Source: FMT by Lim Mah Hui

Lim Mah Hui is a former professor, international banker and Penang Island city councillor.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

Related posts:

New mode of public transport, the ART (Autonomous Rail-Rapid Transit) for Penang, wait no more !

 

Penang Forum calls to review Penang mega projects

 

Penang new Chief Minister taking Penang to the next level

 Go-ahead likely for Penang LRT

 

Penang Island City Council, MBPP councilor Dr Lim fed up change not happening in Penang

 

 Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) – Tunnel project rocked, Directors arrested in graft probe

Penang’s eight transport plans unfulfilled, Not even one commenced work, says Teng

 

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Malaysia’s widening income gap between rich and the poor has only RM76 a month after expenses


 

The State of Households – Khazanah Research Institute

 

Launch of State of Households 2018: Different Realities. From left to right: Datuk Hisham Hamdan, Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi, Allen Ng, Dr Suraya Ismail, Junaidi Mansor.

Malaysia’s widening income gap

KUALA LUMPUR: The gap in income between the rich, middle class and poor in Malaysia has widened since 2008, according to a study by Khazanah Research Institute (KRI).

In its “The State of Households 2018” report, the research outfit of sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd noted that the gap in the real average income between the top-20% households (T20) and the middle-40% (M40) and bottom-40% (B40) households in Malaysia has almost doubled compared to two decades ago.

The report, entitled “Different Realities”, pointed out that while previous economic crises in 1987 and the 1997/98 Asian Financial Crisis saw a reduction in the income gap between the T20 and B40/M40, post 2008/09 Global Financial Crisis (GFC), those disparities were not reduced.

But the Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality in the country, had declined from 0.513 in 1970 to 0.399 in 2016, denoting improvement in income inequality in Malaysia over the past 46 years.

Explaining the phenomenon, Allen Ng, who is the lead author of the KRI report, said income of the T20 households had continued to grow, albeit at a slower pace than that of the M40 and B40 since 2010.

“However, because they (the T20) started at a higher base, the income gap between the T20 and M40/B40 had continued to grow despite the fact that the relative (income growth) is actually narrowing post-GFC,” Ng explained at a press conference after the launch of the report here yesterday.

On that note, Ng calls for greater emphasis and investment in human capital to address the income disparities in the country.

“Human capital is the lynchpin that will help us in the next mile of development,” Ng said.

“Based on the work that we have done, and the way we read the issue, the most important equaliser in terms of income inequality is actually human capital. If we don’t address the quality of our education system, we will not be able to solve the problem of income inequality,” he added.

Among the many key issues highlighted in the report, the state of human capital development in Malaysia was noted as a crucial element to complement the country’s transition towards a knowledge-based economy.

“To complement the knowledge-based economy, the state of human capital development in this country – of which 20% of government expenditure goes to education – has plenty of room for improvement,” the report stated.

Worryingly, the report noted that despite Malaysians receiving 12 years of schooling, they receive only nine years’ worth of schooling after adjusting for education quality.

“The central issue of generating high-quality human capital in this country is an important one as the transition to a high-income nation requires human capital levels that continuously improve productivity, sustain growth and are able to create or utilise technological advancements rather than being substituted by it,” the report said.

Meanwhile, KRI also noted that despite the improvement in income inequality and declining poverty rates in Malaysia, poverty in the country remained rampant.

“While the absolute poverty rate has been steadily declining, it is estimated that an additional one million households lived in ‘relative poverty’ in 2016 compared to two decades ago,” it said in its report.-  The Star

Malaysia’s Lower Income Group Only Has RM76 To Spend A Month After Expenses

Shocking.
Some numbers for your soul.- PIC: Department of Statistics Malaysia

According to The Star Online, these households — categorised under the bottom 40% (B40) income group in the country because they are earning less than RM2,000 a month — only have RM76 to spare, after deductions, in 2016.

As comparison, these households have a residual income of RM124 in 2014.

The reason for the sharp decline? They were forced to spend more of their income on household items.

The study revealed that these households are spending 95 per cent of their total  income on consumption items in 2016 compared to 2014, when the same households spend ‘only’ 92 per cent of their income on daily items.
So, what’s the cause behind this worrying trend?

The report indicated that the rising cost of living is mainly to be blamed for the increase in household expenditure, so #ThanksNajib.

In fact, the report revealed that the high cost of living has affected not only the B40, but all income groups as well.

The real residual household income has, according to the report, reduced
for all income classes. For example, households earning above RM15,000
has a real resi­dual income of RM13,100 in 2016, down from RM14,458 in
2014.

Sigh, we guess we just have to spend our money wisely from now on. No more RM16 Caramel Frappuccino® from Starbucks from now on.

Money, where did you go?

We know we keep saying that we’re broke, but after reading this report, we found out that there are a lot of people out there who are having it worse than us.

A recent Khazanah Research Insti­tute (KRI) study revealed that every month, the average lower-income household in Malaysia has barely enough to survive after household expenses are deducted.

It’s, like, really, really bad!
Related:

We need a complete overhaul of our education system, says NUTP – Nation

 

Malaysia’s widening income gap between rich and poor – Business …

 

 

 

Bukit Kukus paired road hits snag before mishap, stop work order to contractor on collapsed beams


Precarious situation: The collapsed beams along Jalan Tun Sardon which fell and broke after being knocked down.

Video:

https://content.jwplatform.com/players/rQ2BJiZc-d74adXtC.html

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/10/14/stop-work-road-contractor-told-dosh-to-look-at-work-sites-procedures-after-mishap/?jwsource=twi

Stop work, road contractor told

 

BALIK PULAU: The contractor of the 600m elevated road project linking Jalan Bukit Kukus to Jalan Tun Sardon here has been issued with a stop-work order.

The order came following a mishap on the site where 14 concrete beams measuring 25m each fell onto a slope in Jalan Tun Sardon on Thursday.

Eleven beams broke apart in the 8.30pm incident. However, no injuries were reported.

It is learnt that a crane operator accidentally knocked down one of the beams laid on the ground, causing others to fall onto the slope like dominoes.

Penang Department of Occupa­tional Safety and Health (DOSH) director Mohd Rosdee Yaacob said the contractor had been instructed to be present at the DOSH office tomorrow for a meeting.

“We are reviewing the standard operating procedures at the work site.

“For now, the contractor is not allowed to load and unload other concrete beams,” he said yesterday

Mohd Rosdee said his officers were only sent to the site on Friday as they were not immediately informed of the incident.

State Works Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the contractor had been told to prepare a full report for DOSH.

He said the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) would also initiate an internal inquiry tomorrow.

The construction of the elevated road, together with the upgrading of a 1.1km stretch along Lebuhraya Thean Teik and a 1.5km stretch along Lebuh Bukit Jambul, is a MBPP project costing RM275.6mil and is scheduled for completion early next year.

The three segments are part of the project for the construction of the RM545mil alternative road – Jalan Bukit Kukus – to help ease traffic snarls along Jalan Paya Terubong, which is an arterial road linking Bayan Baru, Balik Pulau and Air Itam.

The construction works involve linking Lebuhraya Thean Teik in Bandar Baru Air Itam and Lebuh Bukit Jambul in Penang via Jalan Bukit Kukus, building an elevated U-turn along Lebuh Bukit Jambul for those who want to make a turn and go back to Relau. – The Star

Paired road already hits snag

 

Slow path ahead: The elevated road near Jalan Paya Terubong in Penang will not be ready for another two years.

GEORGE TOWN: Work on the RM545mil Jalan Bukit Kukus paired road project has hit a snag even before the construction mishap in Jalan Tun Sardon.

The completion date on the project, an alternative road linking Lebuhraya Thean Teik in Bandar Baru Air Itam to Lebuh Bukit Jambul, will be delayed by a year till mid-2020 due to unforeseen obstacles during construction.

State Works, Utilities and Flood Mitigation committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari, in describing the project as “very complicated”, said it was constructed by three parties as a cost-saving measure.

“The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) will construct 2.8km of the stretch, while PLB Land Sdn Bhd and Geo Valley Sdn Bhd will construct the remaining 1.4km and 0.7km respectively,” he said.

Zairil said while the three parties involved in the works faced various issues resulting in the delay.

“For example, the MBPP which is working on the 2.8km stretch costing RM275.6mil, faced a delay due to land acquisition issues, realignment and relocation of cables.

“The project is 69% done and to be completed by early 2020.

“PLB Land faced issues with big rocks and boulders. The RM150mil section has progressed 36% and scheduled for mid-2020,” he said.

Zairil said that Geo Valley faced legal issues as the residents affected by their section of the project took up matters with the Appeals Board and the case was pending.

The RM120mil stretch by Geo Valley is now 18% completed.

“Once PLB and Geo Valley complete their portions, we will connect them accordingly,” he said.

It was earlier reported that the contractor of the 600m elevated road project linking Jalan Bukit Kukus to Jalan Tun Sardon was issued with a stop-work order.

The order came after a mishap on the site where 14 concrete beams measuring 25m fell onto a slope in Jalan Tun Sardon on Thursday. No injuries were reported.

It is learnt that a crane operator accidentally knocked down one of the beams laid on the ground, causing others to fall onto the slope.

Paya Terubong assemblyman Yeoh Soon Hin hopes that there will be no further delays.

“About 60,000 vehicles use Jalan Paya Terubong daily to get to Bayan Lepas, and traffic congestion is bad during peak hours.

“I hope the project will be completed safely according to specifications and on schedule for the people to use,” he said.

Once the alternative route is completed, traffic is expected to see a reduction of at least 30%.

The new link will comprise a dual carriageway with a bicycle lane, walkway and LED street lights.

A small waterfall on the hill will also be retained and construction would go around the waterfall.

Last month, MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said the construction on the paired road would take up RM44.2mil of the council’s budget next year. – The Star by Lo Tern Chern

Related:

Dosh: Stop-work order on elevated road project stays 

 

Public talks heading nowhere – Metro News

 

Penang Forum wants eco-review of PIL 1

 

The Tips and Procedures for Issuing a Stop Work Order

2 Things You Should Never Say To A Contractor – Residential …

 

 

Related posts:

 

Penang bald Hillslopes a “time bomb”

 

Penang Paya Terubong Residents living under shadow of fear!

 

PAC blamed Penang Island City Council (MBPP) for failing to enforce laws on hillside development 

 

IJM hill clearing & Trehaus construction damaged nearby houses since 2014 must be mitigated quickly

China tycoon to invest RM10b in M’sia, ADB debunks BRI ‘debt trap’ concerns


https://youtu.be/4bhexUMxO0w

China tycoon to invest RM10b in Malaysia

Yan Jiehe says country is business friendly, with strong fundamentals

China’s Pacific Construction Group Ltd (CPCG) gave Malaysia a vote of confidence with a planned RM10bil investment over 10 years in areas including infrastructure development and hi-tech machinery.

Yan Jiehe (pic), founder of CPCG, which is No. 96th in 2018 Fortune Global 500, said Malaysia “is business friendly, and one of the most competitive countries in the region”.

“The country’s fundamentals are strong. You have excellent infrastructure, a robust eco-system and a big pool of trilingual talents. Kuala Lumpur, is thus, a strategic launch pad for our expansion into Asia Pacific.

“We plan to invest up to RM10bil over 10 years in Malaysia in line with our core business areas of infrastructure development, hi-tech machinery and education,” he said in a statement.

Yan also said CPCG was open to increasing its investment especially for federal projects that would benefit the people.

“With our track record of having successfully delivered complicated construction projects in China, we are confident that, in collaboration with local partners, we will be able to do the same in Malaysia,” he said.

The group, in a move to make it easier to invest in Malaysia and across Asia Pacific, CPCG has set up CPCI Holdings Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary in Kuala Lumpur as its regional technical competency centre.

CPCI is involved in a RM200mil construction project in Sahabat, Sabah.

“Within the next five years, we plan to employ 150 highly skilled professionals of which more than half will be Malaysians as we position CPCI as a major player across the Asia-Pacific region. These trilingual local talents will be invaluable to work on the group’s projects worldwide,” Yan added.

With CPCI, the group would be able to optimise its operations by centralising its regional decision-making and key activities in Kuala Lumpur including accounting, strategic business planning, business development, bid and tender management, as well as engineering services.

Under its education strategy, CPCI plans to set up business schools and universities, and provide scholarships to local students. As a start, CPCI will provide up to 500 scholarships for construction and engineering students in local universities.

On the group itself, CPCG had a total revenue of RM319bil and it is the biggest private-owned construction company in the world. Founded in 1995 by Yan, CPCG was named as one of the Top 500 Chinese enterprises. It is one of the largest integrated construction groups in China and Asia in terms of the total engineering contract revenue. – The Star

 

ADB  Panel debunks ‘debt trap’ concerns

 ‘Belt and Road Initiative not out to cause hardship to recipients’

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and two China watchers do not believe that China is using its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to practise debt diplomacy and causing hardship to recipient nations.

“I don’t buy the notion of China practising debt diplomacy. It is not a sustainable model.

“I don’t think this is the objective of the Chinese government in launching the BRI,” said ADB vice-president Stephen Groff.

Groff told a regional China Conference here yesterday that the failure of some BRI recipient countries to repay loans was due to their “lack of capacity”.

China’s ambitious BRI, which spans more than 65 countries, has given rise to criticism that it will drag developing countries into debt they cannot repay.

Malaysia recently cancelled several projects, saying it could not afford to implement them.

Reminding accusers of China to adopt an evidence-based approach, Groff said countries should look at their capacity when coming to the negotiating table.

At the same panel discussion on “Avoiding Belt and Road debt trap”, Prof Dr Belal Ehsan of International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance said China’s BRI had played an important role in infrastructure investments in Asia.

“Every country in the world is corrupt. It is a question of degree. China now needs a new financial architecture for BRI.

“It cannot be debt-driven but risk-sharing and profit-sharing (like Islamic financing) so that no one is a loser in the end,” he said.

Describing the “debt trap” as a concoction of Western governments and media, chief economist of IQI Global Shan Saeed said: “The rise of China is inevitable, whether you like it or not.

“The US government, media and people do not understand history and culture.

“China has 5,000 years and US only 250.

“In the Western world, everything about China is bad. The time has come for us not to listen to the Western media and be dictated by Western policies.”

To reduce risk in BRI projects, Saeed proposed loans be denominated in local currency or yuan, and not in the US dollar.

ADB believes that adopting transparency and international standards in financing will also help nations reduce risk.

“Institutions have learnt from experiences in the 1990s on debt problems.

“It has taught us the importance of transparency and sustainable framework,” said Groff. – The Star by Ho Wah Foon

 

Related:

 

IMF’s Lagarde warns against trade, currency wars, urges … – Reuters UK

 

 

Jack Ma: US will suffer more in trade war 

 

https://content.jwplatform.com/players/08kti2ni-d74adXtC.html

New mode of public transport, the ART (Autonomous Rail-Rapid Transit) for Penang, wait no more !


ART – Can be completed within 1 year for Penang lang, wait no more ! 年内就可以通车。槟城人,要不要?!

The ART (Autonomous Rail-Rapid Transit) was nominated for an award in the “Beazley Designs of the Year 2017,” which was organized by London’s Design Museum to celebrate the world’s most innovative design ideas.

note: Autonomous rail-Rapid Transit (ART) costs 90% cheaper than LRT.

> 150 delegations from over 20 overseas cities have visited the project, its developer said.

自去年2017年6月发布以来,前来株洲所考察智轨列车的团体超过150批次,其中包括美国、英国、新加坡、新西兰、巴西等国家的20余个海外城市。

槟城,您还在等什么。还要LRT等七年,堵七年吗?


ART Intro Video

How trackless trams could revolutionise Perth’s public transport


Beautiful Malaysia

Georgetown, Malaysia

 

The panel answering questions at the public dialogue on the Penang Transport Master Plan last month (filepic).

New mode of public transport

GEORGE TOWN: The state government will look into Penang Forum’s suggestion of an Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART) system as an alternative to the light rail transit (LRT).

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (pic) said the state government was briefed by China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) on the new train system last week.

“ART is relatively new. CRCC presented the system to us with the same slides and video used by Penang Forum.

“It will not be fair for us to respond now as ART is new to us, but we are not ruling it out,” he said after the question-and-answer session of a public dialogue on the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) at Dewan Sri Pinang on Sunday.

“All this while, Penang Forum never mentioned ART. Before this, they spoke of trams,” Chow said, responding to the presentation made by Penang Forum member Dr Lim Mah Hui.

Chow added that in the video, the train was on a highway with eight to 10 lanes.

“Penang does not have that much road space,” he said.

ART is a rail-less system for urban passenger transport, similar to other guided busways.

Later, in a press conference, Chow said ART did not require an actual railway.

“It has rubber wheels running on roads. It is directed by a sensor system, installed along the road and can be dedicated or shared with other modes of transport.

“If it is dedicated, other measures need to be taken into consideration, like when it approaches an intersection, the traffic light must be programmed to give priority to ART.

“If not, then it is no different from a bus,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Rural Industry and Entrepreneurship Organisation declared its support for the PTMP at the dialogue.

Its secretary-general John Ooh Sin Hwa said the transportation problem not only caused a daily inconvenience but had a negative impact on the state’s economic growth.

“We feel that the benefits and advantages outweigh negative implications.

“PTMP is a noble and sincere effort by the state government,” he said, adding that they would carry out a survey in rural areas and present the findings to the government. – The Star by tan sin chow and n. trisha

keen on ART system

PENANG Forum stands by its proposal for an autonomous rail rapid transit (ART) system instead of a tram system.

The group’s steering committee member Dr Lim Mah Hui said they were not ‘tram salesmen’ and that they made the suggestion based on the best mode of transportation implemented in other cities.

“Basically, the Halcrow proposal favours a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and tram system.

“And, it is only the suggestion of SRS Consortium that the proposed Penang Transport Master Plan should include an elevated Light Rail Transit (LRT).

“The state said they were not going for the trams because of the cable work needed but the LRT system would require digging and piling which would be more expensive and take a longer time,” said Dr Lim in an interview recently.

He urged the state government not to rush into implementing the LRT as it “might be obsolete in a few years”.

“Penang Forum was only made aware of the ART system a few months ago.

“Who knows what type of advanced public transportation system we might see in a few years?” he said, adding that there was a need for a financial comparison of the LRT, tram, BRT and ART systems.

When asked if Penang Forum would conduct a session to explain the ART system, Lim said he would discuss it with the committee.

He cited an article in The Sydney Morning Herald which called for an ART system to be implemented in Perth.

He said the article also claimed that trackless trams would be able to avoid the worst features ofan light rail system in terms ofdisruption and costs.

The first trackless tram rolled out for a road test was in Zhuzhou, south China’s Hunan Province, on Oct 23, 2017.

Last month, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state would look into the suggestion to implement the ART system when the matter was raised during a question- and-answer session of a public dialogue on the Penang Transport Master Plan at Dewan Sri Pinang.

Chow said the state government was briefed by China Railway Construction Corporation on the new train system.

“The ART has rubber wheels running on roads.

“It is directed by a sensor system installed along the road and it can be dedicated or shared with other modes of transport,” he said. – The Star by Intan amalina mohd ali

 

Related:

 

Penang mulls China-designed railless train to ease traffic woes | The …

 

No rail, just road: Group wants Penang to consider new tram system …


 

Penang Forum now proposes the ART system… – Chow Kon Yeow 曹觀友 …

 

Related posts:

 

Penang Forum calls to review Penang mega projects

 

Umno is swimming against the tide


 

Empires are built, destroyed and rebuilt. If Umno wishes to witness the final part of that life cycle, it must navigate out of choppy waters by making right calls.

IF there’s one thing the Umno leadership needs to accept – no matter how painful – is that it’s now in the opposition. They got kicked out, and that’s life.

So, for God’s sake, please start acting and thinking like an opposition party. It may be hard after 60 years being at the helm, since the party has enjoyed the privileges of power, which can be intoxicating.

Suddenly, the motorcades are gone, invitations to events have trickled, telephones are not going off the hook, and the formal suits have stayed in the closet.

Umno leaders should forget about “doing deals”. That was precisely what got the party into trouble – those dubious deals.

Some Umno leaders find it hard to be “out of power”. They need to be in power – even if it means playing second fiddle, or even placing third or fourth in the pecking order. But here’s the bad news – Pakatan Harapan doesn’t need Umno.

They need to stop leveraging on the spin that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad needs them to keep Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at bay. It sounds good for them, but the danger is that Umno MPs may start believing in their inflated sense of self-worth.

The PH government has the numbers. They have formed government and are running the country.

Governments in other countries, such as the Kuomintang party, which founded Taiwan, is now in the opposition but was the ruling party for decades, amassing huge assets. And like Umno, it also got embroiled in corruption.

The KMT maybe be broken now, but it still has plenty of assets. When the party fled to Taiwan after losing the civil war to the communists in 1949, it took millions in gold, bonds and antiques, all of which became part of the foundations of the party’s fortunes.

It also inherited assets left by the Japanese during their 50 years ruling Taiwan, but the KMT has come under investigation for public and private assets it seized after arriving in the country.

With its assets recently frozen, it had to cut staff from 800 to under 400 personnel because of insufficient funds. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Then, there is the Indian National Congress, founded in 1885, and which ruled India for 60 years, yet today, is in the opposition and struggling to remain relevant.

In Britain, the Conservative and Labour parties have been voted in and out of government. Amazingly, in all circumstances, even when alliances were made with smaller parties, the loser ended up accepting the people’s verdict and simply worked towards getting re-elected.

So, it is terribly embarrassing to see how Umno leaders crawled to Dr Mahathir, seeking advice on how to keep his former party alive. I mean, why would he even want to see Umno remain intact?

If that’s not enough, Umno had to use its usual trump cards of race and religion as reasons for the formation of a unity government, comprising mainly Malays and Muslims, to safeguard the interests of the community – after billions of ringgit vanished!

It’s also incomprehensible to be telling Umno leaders in Kelantan and Terengganu, who have fought against PAS since Umno’s formation, that they now must work with the Islamist party.

And in the same breath, try to persuade what’s left of the Barisan Nasional component parties that it is merely trying to reach an understanding with the fellow opposition party.

Umno and PAS are supposed to represent different things. Umno is Malay and Muslim, but is supposed to be moderate, inclusive and has shared power with the MCA and MIC, even in Malay-dominated constituencies.

Of course, these Barisan component parties don’t understand what’s going on because Umno members themselves are clueless about this purported deal with PAS.

And why should PAS want to share power with Umno? It has control of two states. It has exuberantly introduced whipping and gender segregation at public events again, making the two states look like some extremist Middle East country.

The party is happy to equate liberalism with open sex, hedonism, LGBT and everything else it deems sins. And can we be blamed if we feel that Umno is happily singing the same tune and sharing the same ignorance of what liberalism means? And now, we even have a new term – super liberalism. Go figure.

And why shouldn’t non-Muslims feel resentment for PAS when its president questioned Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for attending gatherings involving other faiths, or for the PKR president-elect to contest in a multi-racial constituency?

If Umno chooses to work with a party like PAS, then it’s heading down a slippery slope, if it’s purely about retaining or winning the Malay votes, because the party is bound to be grilled for what it stands for. Surely, it can’t be the same as PAS.

The DAP and PKR had been in the opposition for years, even decades, with their leaders paying a heavy price for their political convictions, but they continued with their struggles. We don’t have to agree with their politics and what they stand for, but credit where it’s due for their convictions.

And here we are – Umno suffers one defeat, and it’s running around like a headless chicken, which is how the party is being described now.

If it wants to get its house back in order, Umno first needs to reform itself. It is a flawed product, but not entirely a rejected or expired item.

It must appear an alternative. The voters are testing the PH government to see if it’s any good. Why not? After all, they gave the Alliance and Barisan a good 60 years, and they became arrogant and corrupt.

The voters are basically the customers, but Umno forgot that detail and expected the customers to be grateful, which is ironic. But that was exactly how Umno treated its customers.

Malaysians would like to see Umno leaders stop acting like big shots (which they no longer are), admit their mistakes and excesses of the past and, step down from their pedestal and be ordinary Malaysians.

Surely, we want leaders who can speak the languages of the people, understand their needs and sentiments, and just be one of us.

They ought to know that we are tired of having to address them by their titles and being expected to line up to kiss their hands. And for some bizarre reason, we wonder, too, why their identity cards need to carry their fathers’ titles!

So, we now have Tan Sri Awang Ibrahim bin Tan Sri Osman Tengah. If you don’t believe me, check the Mykads of most Umno members.

That’s how ridiculously far we have allowed this scheme of grandiosity to go with our obsession with titles. Now, it’s refreshing to see Cabinet ministers with no fancy titles.

We are watching all these newbies, so, don’t try to con us with pictures of them flying economy class, especially during the first year, and then subsequently, and quietly, enjoying the perks of power.

It’s obvious that the corrupt show their greedy selves in the second term of office.

But all is not lost for Umno. It has 49 MPs and that’s a substantial number. It must come across as an opposition worthy of being voted back into power, or it can continue to use the faces of political minnows, with their aggressive and irrational behaviour that is incongruous with the New Malaysia. It looks like Umno hasn’t learnt yet.

If the leaders can’t think well, then, it has to set up a really good think-tank capable of drafting the best papers and sound bites for Barisan leaders, and even produce policy papers that will put the party in good light.

Unlike the other component parties, Umno is still able to retain some very good youth leaders who can articulate their thoughts well, and with good command of Bahasa Malaysia and English. These fresh faces must surely be in the forefront.

If the warlords who run the divisions continue to have their way – now that the easily available funds are drying up quickly – then the demise of Umno will be near, and if they are still looking for deals, then it will be even closer.

Wong Chun Wai

On the beat by Wong Chun Wai

Wong Chun Wai began his career as a journalist in Penang, and has served The Star for over 27 years in various capacities and roles. He is now the group’s managing director/chief executive officer and formerly the group chief editor.

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