personal capacity: I wish to comment on the press statement by Jagdeep
Singh Deo as reported in Berita Daily and many other newspapers on 24
Use technology to learn more about them before casting your vote
|Cheah taking a wefie with Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu
(behind Cheah) and (from left) Berapit assemblyman Lydia Ong, Speaker
Datuk Law Choo Kiang and state officials during a break at the Penang state
assembly in November.
KEBUN Bunga assemblyman Cheah Kah Peng of PKR is the man of the moment in the political scene in Penang.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng barred him from helping with the registration of flood victims for the RM700 aid in his constituency.
Lim, in his Facebook page, said in Chinese that he wouldn’t sit idly when elected representatives do not perform.
He stopped short of naming Cheah, except to say that he heard grouses from Hong Seng Estate residents about not seeing “their assemblyman” during the floods on Sept 15 as well as on Nov 4 and 5. We do not know if this is true.
In any case, Cheah got a letter from the State Secretariat relieving him of the registration duty. Lim and Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey took over the task.
Cheah, showing his usual gentleman’s demeanour, declined to comment. But this is not the first time he has come under attack from the state administration.
It was learned that he was reprimanded for being unhappy with the passing of the Penang State Park (Botanic) Corporation Enactment 2017.
Penang Botanic Gardens is in his constituency and he feared the Enactment would affect people’s rights after the park was corporatised. It is said he was informed only a few days before the Bill was tabled.
In 2015, Cheah, Penanti assemblyman Dr Norlela Ariffin, Ong Chin Wen (Bukit Tengah), Dr T. Jayabalan (Batu Uban) and Lee Khai Loon (Machang Bubok) were dubbed the ‘PKR Five’ for abstaining in a vote against a Barisan Nasional motion on land reclamation in the state assembly.
Their relationship with Lim soured after that.
How do we define good elected representatives? Keep count of how many times they visit their constituencies?
And then there is the old question: Should we vote for the person or the party? There are many views on this, but as a journalist, I have an occupational advantage.
I have seen a few assemblymen turning up at gotong-royong, spend less than 30 minutes there for photo opportunities and leave. Yes, I know who you are and I am a voter too.
And then I had the chance to cover many state assembly meetings through the years.
This is where we expect constructive debates among the ‘Yang Berhormat’ on issues that affect us. But on a few occasions, there were no fruitful debates or exchange of ideas.
National issues, which cannot be resolved in the state assembly, dominate the proceedings at times. Why? What were our assemblymen hoping to achieve by prattling about things that the hall cannot act on?
They frequently call each other names and bicker in the august House.
In the last meeting, two assemblymen dragged out the name of a newspaper editor and attacked his character in the hall where the editor had no chance to defend himself due to the absolute privilege that lets assemblymen say anything they want there without fear of being sued.
But I was relieved because at least five other assemblymen stood up to defend the editor and talked those two assemblymen down.
Unlike them, I do not have absolute privilege so regretfully, I can mention no names.
With today’s technology, it is easy to get to know political candidates before giving them our votes.
Check out their Facebook pages or Google their names to learn about them.
If they are not up to mark, something might show in their social media exchanges.
Remember, the election season is just around the corner. Use your vote wisely.
By Tan Sin Chow
It’s hard to deny when the effects of
climate change are all around us Andrew Sheng says that from
increasingly intense hurricanes t.
Important report: RCI Secretary Datuk Dr Yusof
Ismail speaking to media after submitting a police report over Bank
Negara forex trade losses in Putrajaya.
THE Royal Commission of Inquiry into the foreign exchange losses suffered by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) back in 1990s has recommended that three people be probed over their involvement and liability.
They are former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, his then finance minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and ex-Bank Negara advisor Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, whom the report also named as “principally liable for criminal breach of trust”.
The 524-page report also called out Tun Daim Zainuddin, who served as finance minister from July 14, 1984 to March 15, 1991, for having aided and abetted Nor Mohamed by leaving BNM “to its own devices”.
The commission found that the Cabinet in the 1990s was not given the full picture by Anwar on the forex losses, adding that he had “deliberately concealed facts and information and made misleading statements”.
“The Commission is of the opinion that there was deliberate concealment as BNM’s annual reports did not state the actual losses incurred from the forex dealings from 1992 to 1994.
“It is also of the opinion that the then prime minister (Dr Mahathir) had condoned the actions of the finance minister,” it said.
The RM31.5bil losses, it said, were hidden using “unconventional accounting treatments”, such as booking losses to reserves in the balance sheet and the absorption of the remaining losses by the transfer of shares from the Government to BNM as well as the creation of a “Deferred Expenditure” to be repaid in instalments over a decade.
“All the actions to conceal the losses were discussed and approved by the board of directors before the accounts were signed off by the Auditor-General.
“No further action was taken by the Finance Minister and Treasury secretary-general (as a board member) despite being informed by the Auditor-General on the losses and the unusual accounting treatments,” said the report.
Anwar, noted the Commission, had been informed about the actual forex losses suffered by BNM.
Dr Mahathir, it said, was informed by Anwar together with then Treasury deputy secretary-general Tan Sri Clifford Francis Herbert in late 1993 that BNM had suffered estimated losses of RM30bil on the forex dealings for 1992 and 1993.
However, in the extract of minutes from three Cabinet meetings on March 30, April 6 and 13 in 1994, Anwar had made “no mention of the actual losses of RM12.3bil for 1992 and RM15.3bil for 1993.”
Anwar had chaired the March 30 meeting as the deputy prime minister. The losses for 1993 were reported as RM5.7bil.
“The prime minister, who chaired the meeting on April 6, did not correct or offer more information when the forex losses for 1993 were recorded as only RM5.7bil,” it pointed out.
“The Commission is of the view that it is the finance minister’s responsibility to inform the Cabinet the significant financial affairs about BNM as the Cabinet has collective responsibility with the finance minister and the prime minister for the country’s affairs.”
Dr Mahathir, it said, claimed to have no knowledge of the real amount of losses, which was untenable with his meticulous nature, as well as that under the law, BNM was the banker and financial agent to the Government with the remainder of its net profit to be paid into the Federal Consolidated Fund.
The report said as pointed out by Herbert, he had expected Dr Mahathir to be outraged but his reaction was quite normal with him uttering “sometimes we make profit, sometimes we make losses”.
“His reaction to and acceptance of the huge forex losses suggest that he could have been aware of the forex dealings and its magnitude,” said the report.
The RCI also found Dr Mahathir’s claim that he could only remember the amount of RM5bil forex losses when informed about it in a meeting with Anwar and Herbert in late 1993 to be “questionable”.
It said this was because based on testimonies of other witnesses and documentary evidence, the RM5.7bil only surfaced when Bank Negara’s 1993 annual report was presented to the Cabinet on March 30, 1994.
“Despite his denials, the Commission is of the opinion that a thorough investigation should be carried out to determine the extent of his involvement and liability,” said the report.
By Martin Carvalho, Hemananthani Sivanandam, Loshana K. Shagar, and Rahmah Ghazali The Star
|Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun says police will
open investigation paper following a report that was lodged by Royal
Commission of Inquiry (RCI) secretary Datuk Dr Yusof Ismail. (Image is
for illustration purpose only).
KUALA LUMPUR: Police have set up a taskforce to investigate possible criminal breach of trust and cheating which may have been committed during Bank Negara Malaysia’s foreign exchange losses in 1990s
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said police would open investigation paper as the forex Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) had lodged a police report this afternoon.
“A taskforce has been formed and it will lead the investigation. We are investigating the case under Section 409 of the Penal Code for criminal breach of trust,” he told the New Straits Times when contacted.
RCI’s secretary Datuk Dr Yusof Ismail, who is the Finance Ministry Strategic Investment Division director, had lodged a report at Putrajaya police headquarters at 4.10pm asking police to start an official investigation.
In the police report, it was stated that those who were involved in the alleged wrongdoings were Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) officers, BNM Board of Members, National Audit Department, Finance Ministry and the prime minister who served during the period.
|Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) secretary Datuk Dr Yusof Ismail seen
leaving the Putrajaya police headquarters after lodging a report. Pic by
AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR
The RCI, in its 528-page report that was tabled in Parliament today, said it believed that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was Finance Minister at the time, had misled the government and concealed the actual losses suffered by BNM.
RCI also said it believed that the prime minister at the time, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had approved Anwar’s “misleading statements”.
The commission also revealed that the losses were far larger than that what was initially reported by the central bank, RM31.5 billion as against RM5.7 billion, in the period of three years.
Yusof spent almost 40 minutes at the police headquarters and later spoke to reporters who were waiting outside.
He said in the report, the commission had requested the police to start a official investigation on the possible criminal breach of trust, forgery and other wrongdoings which may have been committed during the forex activities.
“Our report is basically requesting the police to start investigation and for the Attorney-General Chambers to take action based on the findings by the police,” he said.
Putrajaya OCPD Asst Comm Rosly Hassan who confirmed that the report was made, said a special unit in Bukit Aman would investigate the case.
By TEOH PEI YING and HASHINI KAVISHTRI KANNAN New Straits Times
AFTER two Category 5 hurricanes (Harvey and Irma) hit the US in October, followed by Maria hitting Puerto Rico, no one can deny that natural disasters are devastating.
With three hurricanes costing an estimated US$385bil, with less than half insured, the poor are suffering the most because they cannot afford to rebuild as the rich.
This year alone, monsoon floods in Bangladesh, India and Nepal have left millions homeless. This year will therefore break all records as Munich Re-insurance data suggests that 2016 natural disaster losses were only US$175bil, already 28.6% higher than the 30 years (1986-2015) annual average of US$126bil.
But how much of these natural disasters are man-made?
Despite US President Trump being sceptical of climate change, the US Global Change Research Program Climate Science Report published this month concludes that “it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century”.
Carbon dioxide concentration already exceed 400 parts per million, last occurred about 3 million years ago, when both global average temperature and sea level were significantly higher than today. Roughly one third of carbon emission is due to residential heating/cooling, one third for transport and one third for industrial production.
Human activities on Mother Earth include over-consumption of natural resources, cutting down forests, polluting waters and excessive cultivation/development that caused desertification or soil erosion. You see this from warmer surface and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; diminishing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea levels; ocean acidification; and declining tree and fish stock.
Oceans warming up
Hurricanes are caused by oceans warming up, building energy and vapour levels that create freak typhoons, tornados and massive downpours. At the same time, droughts are also occurring with more frequency for longer.
Scientists estimate that global average sea level has risen by about 7-8 inches since 1900, with almost half that rise occurring since 1993. Everyday, we hear new extreme events, such as unusually heavy rainfall, heatwaves, large forest fires, floods or landslides.
Climate warming is most observable in the water-stressed Middle East and the North Africa/Sahel region, where rapid population growth created desertification, food shortages, civil conflicts and ultimately, outward migration towards cooler climates, especially Europe. This hot region accounts for 60% of global war casualties since 2000, with 10 million outward refugees. About 90% of the world’s refugees and asylum seekers come from four regions with half under the age of 18 years.
A 2016 World Bank report estimated that these water-stressed countries’ GDP could be reduced by up to 6%, with dire consequences on stability. Without water, industries cannot function, food cannot be cultivated and health can deteriorate due to disease from water-shortage and drought.
European estimates suggest that each refugee costs roughly US$11,600 per person to maintain and there are already one million trying to enter Europe last year. The OECD has classified countries such as Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen as extreme fragile.
The world is already reaching a critical turning point. If the Paris Climate Accord can be implemented, with or without the United States, there is some chance of averting further global warming.
But closer home, we are already witnessing the effects of climate change on our daily lives.
In 1972, Hong Kong experienced a devastating landslide near Po Shan Road in Mid-Levels, which caused 67 deaths and collapse of two buildings. One cause was unstable ground following heavy rainfall from Typhoon Rose eleven months prior to the incident.
This tragedy in densely populated Hong Kong resulted in rigorous slope protection and inspection of drains to ensure that these slips do not occur again. I lived near Po Shan Road and admired how Hong Kong engineers regularly inspected the slope protection measures and that the drains were always clear.
In 1993, the collapse of Highland Towers in Kuala Lumpur was partly attributed to the clearing of the hilltop above Highland Towers, which led to soil erosion and the weakening of the foundations. By the time the residents detected cracks in the buildings, it was already too late. Some of my personal friends were among the 48 persons who were killed in that collapse.
Last weekend, Penang (where I live) had the worst rainstorm and floods because we were hit by the tail end of strong winds from Typhoon Damrey, one of the strongest to hit Vietnam in 16 years, leaving 61 people dead. Driving along Penang Bridge, I can see that the continued hilltop developments in Penang are leaving soiled scars on the previously pristine landscape, I am reminded of Highland Towers and Po Shan incidents. Natural disasters are acts of god, but the size of their impact on human lives are completely within our control.
Soil erosion does not happen overnight, and require responsible developers and conscientious governments, as well as concerned citizens, to be continually vigilant that maintenance of roads and drains, including soil inspections, are serious business with serious consequences.
Modern technology can provide drones and inbuilt sensors that can detect whether erosion is reaching critical levels. Regular maintenance of drains and checks on stability of the soil, especially where there has been recent clearing of trees in steep slopes, will forewarn us all of impending accidents.
As cities are building more and more on hillsides subject to torrential rain, Penang should seek technical expertise from Hong Kong which has extensive expertise on the maintenance of steep hill slopes that are subject to typhoons and sudden rainfall.
Landslides are today used more in political terms than in real terms. The next time landslides happen, residents who watch daily the erosion of their natural environment will know who is really looking after their interests.
Becoming bald: A view of the clearing work seen at Bukit Relau which was visible from the Penang Bridge in November last year. GEORGE
Seeking solutions: Penang Forum member and soil expert Dr Kam Suan Pheng giving her views during the dialogue sessio
Speaking out: Penang Forum members protesting outside the CAP office in George Town. Don’t just make it about worker safety
https://youtu.be/QB45Q2_mOG0 Suspicious activity: A photo taken from Penang social activist Anil Netto’s blog showing an active
Wet, wet woes: (Above) Bukit Jambul is flooded once again after an evening downpour.
GEORGE TOWN: A blocked underground drainage saw six houses located on a slope in Hong Seng Estate, Mount Erskine, flooded during an evening downpour.
Firemen and Civil Defence Force personnel had to install a water pump to draw out the rainwater which flooded some of the units to waist-level.
Rojak seller Tan Swee Hoe, 56, said she was shocked to see her kitchen and living room submerged in water at 7pm yesterday.
“I rushed home after receiving a call from a neighbour, saying my house is flooded.
“But I did not expect such a sight. I did not manage to move my furniture and electrical appliances to the upper floor, thus incurring several thousand ringgit in losses.
“I have been staying here for 17 years and this is the first time my house is flooded,” she said at her house.
Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey said 17 people from five houses were affected while the sixth house was unoccupied.
She said the Fire and Rescue Department and the Civil Defence Force personnel moved in to install a 400m pipe to pump the water out from the house manually.
“The water is channelled to a nearby river and it may take a few hours if the weather is good,” she said, adding that the district office will evaluate the losses.
Late last month, seven houses in the estate were affected by soil erosion. A consultant engineer Datuk Lim Kok Khong had said the soil erosion was due to water seeping under the ground.
Penang Gerakan secretary H’ng Chee Wey urged the state government, with the aid of the experts, to look into the cause of the problems.
“The state government needs to ensure that the existing infrastructure, including the drainage system, can cope with the demand before it approve new development projects.
“We hope the local authorities can be proactive in the matter,” he added.
Rising waters also flooded the Bukit Jambul area, reducing traffic to a crawl.
Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin said a RM400,000 flood mitigation project started last month.
“The project will create a shortcut for the floodwater to be discharged directly to Sungai Nibong river instead of passing through Jalan Tun Dr Awang,” he said, adding that the project was expected to be completed at the end of next month.
Source: The Star by chong Kah Yuan
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Razak has tabled the RM280 billion Budget for 2018, his last before the next general election which must be called by middle of next year.
Below are Salient points of the budget from Dewan Rakyat.
• 1.6 million civil servants to receive the following benefits:
– second round time-based promotions
– senior servants who retire due to health reasons will be accorded the same benefits as those who undergo mandatory retirement
– special leave for teachers increased to 10 days a year, up from seven
– seven days unrecorded leave for umrah pilgrimage
– women at least five months pregnant allowed to leave work an hour earlier while husbands accorded the same privilege if their work locations are in close proximity to each other
– maternity leave increased from 300 to 360 days throughout service with a maximum of 90 days a year
– RM1,000 set for minimum pension amount
Senior Citizens, Disabled, Children
• RM1.7 billion for the following areas:
– RM603 million to increase allowance of senior citizens from RM50 to RM350
– RM100 million to increase allowance for the disabled by RM50 a month
Digital Free Trade Zone
• RM83.5 million allocated for DFTZ in Aeropolis, KLIA.
• Increase minimum value for imports from RM500 – RM800.
• RM5 billion allocated under Green Technology Funding Scheme.
• RM1.4 billion to reduce non-revenue water programme.
• RM1.3 billion to build Off-River Storage as an alternative water source.
• RM517 million for flood mitigation plans nationwide.
Reduction in Income Tax Rates
• Reduction in individual income tax rates:
– RM20,001 – RM35,000: 5% to 3%
– RM35,001 – RM50,000: 10% to 8%
– RM50,001 – RM70,000: 16% to 14%
• Increase disposable income between RM300-RM1,000 while 261,000 do not have to pay tax
Foreign Domestic Helpers
• Allow employers to hire foreign domestic helpers directly without agent.
• No change to Goods and Services Tax but government to propose either exemption or zerorising certain items and services.
– local councils
– reading materials
– cruise operators
– construction of schools and places of worship funded by approved donations
– oil and gas equipment imports under lease agreement
– import of big ticket items like planes and ships
– management and maintenance of homes with strata titles
• RM27 billion for better quality health services.
• RM4.1 billion for medical supplies and consumables.
• RM1.4 billion to upgrade and maintain health facilities, equipment, ambulances and construction of operation theatres in three hospitals.
• RM100 million to upgrade hospitals and clinics.
• RM50 million to subsidise hemodialysis treatment; and RM40 million for medical assistance fund.
• RM10 million for treatment of rare diseases; RM30 million for health community programmes.
• RM50 million for voluntary health insurance scheme.
• RM2.2 billion allocated to boost home ownership.
• 7 million benefited from RM6.8 billion in BR1M payouts and in 2018 the 7 million will continue to receive the same payout.
Orang Asli Benefits
• RM50 million for Orang Asli for economic development and quality of life enhancement.
• RM60 million for Orang Asli village development.
Indian and Chinese Benefits
• RM50 million for Chinese SME loans through KOJADI.
• RM30 million to be channelled to the 1Malaysia Hawkers and Petty Traders Foundation.
• RM65 million allocated for Chinese New Villages and RM10 million for house restoration.
• RM1.5 billion additional Amanah Saham units for Indians.
• Increase the intake of Indians to IPTA and public service (7%)
• RM2.4 billion allocated to UiTM.
• RM3.5 billion for the following initiatives:
– RM2.5 billion for MARA higher education and training scholarships
– RM90 million for Program Peneraju Profesional, Skil dan Tunas
– RM200 million for MARA Graduate Employability Training Scheme or GETS
– RM555 million for Bumiputera Entrepreneurship Enhancement Programme (RM200 million for PUNB Entrepreneurship Programme and Business Premises; RM200 million for MARA Entrepreneurship; RM115 million for Vendor Capacity Programmes).
• RM150 million for Pelaburan Hartanah Berhad and RM150 million to EKUINAS.
• A total of RM14 billion for armed forces; RM9 billion for police force, RM900 million for Malaysian maritime.
• RM3 billion for purchase and maintenance of defence assets; RM720 million for the construction of 11 police headquarters and six police stations.
• RM490 million to MMEA for repair and maintenance of ships, boats, jetties and procurement of three patrol vessels.
• RM250 million to ESSCOM
• RM50 million to enhance weapon capability to combat terrorism.
• Government to build 40,000 houses in phases for families of armed forces personnel.
• RM40 million to upgrade five hospitals; build four polyclinics and one hospital for veteran armed forces personnel.
• RM200 million allocated for Felda for water supply and road upgrades.
• 112,ooo settlers will each receive windfall worth RM5,000.
• RM43 million allocation for Felda settlers and RM60 million for replanting of oil palm, RM164 million allocation to build 5,000 houses for second generation Felda settlers.
• RM1.1 billion for people-centric projects; RM1 billion to develop communication infrastructure; RM934 million for rural projects; RM672 million for electricity supply; RM420 million for clean water supply inclusive of RM300 million in Sabah and Sarawak covering 3,000 homes; RM500 million for public infrastructure maintenance; RM50 million for mapping and measuring of native customary land
– RM30 million for Sarawak, RM20 million for Sabah.
• RM6.5 billion for rural infrastructure which includes RM2 billion for the Pan Borneo Highway.
• RM4.9 million allocated for 100 scholarships for TVET students.
• RM4.9 billion allocated for Technical and Vocational, Education and Training (TVET).
• RM200 million added to PTPTN fund for B40 families.
• Discount for repayment of PTPTN loans is extended to Dec 31, 2018 (20% for full repayment, 10% for 50% repayment, and 10% for direct debit salary deduction).
• RM100 for 3.2 million schoolchildren totalling RM328 million.
• RM2.9 billion for food aid, text books and minor federal scholarships.
• RM2.5 billion for maintenance of schools – RM500 million in Peninsula, RM1 billion in Sabah, RM1 billion in Sarawak, in addition to an existing special fund for maintenance.
• RM654 million for construction of four pre-schools; nine Permata schools; two centres for children with autism; 48 primary, secondary as well as vocational and matriculation centres.
• RM61.6 billion for development of education.
• RM20 million for Bukit Jalil sports school.
• RM112 million to construct 14 new sports complexes nationwide.
• RM1 billion to conduct sports initiatives to make country a sports powerhouse.
• RM50 million to fund social enterprise and NGOs to solve communities issues.
• RM40 million for open interview programme under the 1Malaysia training scheme (SL1M).
• All undergraduates and those in Form Six will continue to receive book vouchers.
• RM90 million for MyBrain programme for 10,600 students to further their studies at post-graduate level.
• RM400 million for research and development grants to public institutions of higher learning with a special allocation to Universiti Malaya to achieve status of Top 100 universities in the world.
• RM2.2 billion for JPA scholarships, the ministry of higher education and ministry of health.
• RM20 million for setting up of a Cultural Economy Development agency.
• RM190 million to upgrade 2,000 classes to become smart learning classrooms.
• To enhance present computer science module to include coding programme in primary and secondary school curriculums.
• RM250 million to build science, technology, engineering and mathematics centre.
• Special fund set up for children born between Jan 2018 to Jan 2022.
• Tax relief for employers who employ the disabled that include those involved in accidents and have critical illnesses.
• Local councils to make it mandatory for all new buildings to have childcare facilities, beginning in Kuala Lumpur.
• Government studying proposal for a new airport in Pulau Tioman.
• Government to build new airport for Mukah and expand airport for Kota Bahru and Sandakan.
• Government to upgrade Penang and Langkawi international airports.
• RM55 million transport subsidy for rural rail services from Tumpat to Gua Musang.
• RM45 million to create a biometric control system to monitor the movement of express bus services.
• RM95 million for the repair and construction of jetties as well as river mouth dredging.
• RM1 billion for public transport fund for start-up capital and procurement of assets like buses and taxis.
• RM3 billion for transport development fund for the purchase of maritime assets, aerospace technology development and rail.
• Special border economic zone in Bukit Kayu Hitam to be developed.
• Pulau Pangkor to be declared a duty-free zone.
• RM230 million to continue central spine road project from Raub to Bentong.
• RM5 billion for the west coast coastal highway from Banting to Taiping.
• Government to expedite MRT3 project by two years from 2027 to 2025.
• RM32 billion for MRT2 project (Sg Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya).
• RM110 million to provide alternative road to Port Klang.
• RM30 million to be allocated to the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council to boost medical tourism.
• RM500 million for the promotion and development of tourism.
• RM1 billion to tourism infrastructure development fund.
• RM2 billion fund for SMEs in tourism.
• RM200 monthly for a duration of 3 months for padi farmers while waiting to harvest their crops, which amounts to RM150 million.
• RM200 million for rubber replanting, RM140 million for development, re-planting and promotion of oil palm.
• Almost RM500 million to improve agriculture infrastructure.
• RM2.3 billion in incentives and assistance for the agriculture community.
• RM6.5 billion allocated to the smallholders, farming and fishing communities.
• RM100 million with a 70% government-guaranteed loan for the furniture export industry.
• RM200 million allocated for training programmes, grants and SME easy loans under SME Corp; and close to RM82 million for halal products and industry development.
• RM2 billion set aside for 70% government-guaranteed loans.
• RM5 billion allocated for start-up capital for businesses.
• RM7 billion allocated to Skim Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan.
• SMEs expected to contribute 41% of GDP by 2020.
• Private sector investment is expected to reach RM260 billion by 2018 and will be the engine of growth.
• Total investments in the country is expected to increase by 6.7% contributing to 25.5% to the GDP for 2018.
• RM26.34 billion for economic sector; RM11.72 billion for the social sector; RM5.22 billion for the security sector; RM2.72 billion for general administration sector.
• Administration budget is RM119.82 billion; other expenditure is RM1.08 billion; asset procurement is RM577 million.
• For 2018, federal government is expected to collect RM239.86 billion in revenue.
• Allocation for Budget 2018 is RM280.25 billion, an increase of over RM20 billion.
• B40 household income has increased to RM3,000 per month from RM2,629 for the period 2014-2016.
• Monthly median income has increased from RM4,585 in 2014 to RM5,288 in 2016.
• Current per capita income stands at RM40,713, expected to reach RM42,777 by 2018.
• Our international reserves now stand at US$101.4 billion.
• In August, exports hit a high of RM80 billion, recording double-digit growth.
• 69% or 2.26 million new jobs created so far from the target 3.3 million to be created by 2020.
• 3 international credit rating agencies have reaffirmed our A-rating with stable prospects.
• Looking at 2009, our fiscal deficit was at 6.7% of the GDP and is expected to decrease to 3% in 2017 and 2.8% in 2018.
• Actual private investment for 2016 is over RM211 billion.
• Government projection growth of between 5.2% to 5.7% for 2017, higher than the projection in March of between 4.3% and 4.8%.
• Projected GDP increase from 4.9% to 5.2% for 2017.
• The country has had a growth rate of 5.7% in the first half of 2017.
Source: Free Malaysia Today
Speaking out: Penang Forum members protesting outside the CAP office in George Town.
GEORGE TOWN: A Penang Forum member is worried that the state’s proposed inquiry into the Tanjung Bungah landslide will only focus on worker safety issues.
Meenakshi Raman, who is also Tanjung Bungah Residents Association chairman, said the inquiry should instead look at the laws that have not been followed and whether or not the Penang Structure Plan (PSP) was neglected.
“It should also look at whether the Penang Island City Council (MBPP), which has the authority to act, failed to properly do its job.
“We hope the commission will broaden its scope of inquiry,” she told press conference at the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) office yesterday.
Penang Forum is a loose coalition of several civil society groups in the state.
The coalition, which includes Sahabat Alam Malaysia, CAP, Malaysian Nature Society, Women’s Centre for Change, Penang Heritage Trust, Friends of Botanical Gardens, and 25 residents’ associations and management committees, urged the state to halt all hillslope projects immediately.
It also wants the state to amend the 2009 guidelines on “special projects” to explicitly prohibit development on hill lands except for essential public services.
Forum member Dr Lim Mah Hui said the Penang Hills Watch citizens’ initiative provided the state government with information on hill cutting it collected from the public.
“In January, this site was the first case we highlighted to the state government.
“Photos of construction and hill cutting there were presented to the state government. It responded that the ‘earthwork is being monitored’,” he said.
Dr Lim said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng wrote in the Safety Guidelines for Hillside Development in 2012 that local governments were to strengthen their geotechnical units, which process and approve applications for hillside developments, and follow up with strict enforcement.
“It says a monitoring team will be established to ensure compliance in construction and performance (of projects).
“The question is what happened then? Did the state and local governments follow their own guidelines? Or was there gross negligence?
“Such a tragedy could have been avoided,” Dr Lim claimed.
He also said parties like the State Planning Committee, MBPP’s One-Stop-Centre Committee (which approved the project), the engineers, the developer and contractors should be investigated.
CAP vice-president Mohideen Abdul Kader said Penangites’ concerns over hill development dated back some three decades.
“Remember the proposed Penang Hill development which we managed to cancel in the end? What the state must do now is look after the natural resources and listen to the NGOs.
“Public pressure can make a difference,” he said.
Another forum member, Dr Kam Suan Pheng, said the Penang Structure Plan forbade development on hill land 76m (250ft) above sea level or with a gradient of 25° and above.
“But many developers cut hillslopes, making them steeper and less stable.
“The weather is always blamed but there was no rain for the past week. So how did the landslide happen?” she asked.
Dr Kam said the Safety Guidelines for Hillside Development clearly state that “if you have a slope … depending on the height of the slope, you need to have a buffer zone that is greater than the height of the slope.”
“From the media reports, the height of the affected slope is 10m, so there should be a buffer zone of 10m from the foothill,” she said, adding that the inquiry should explore this aspect.
Penang Citizens Awareness Chant Group adviser Yan Lee urged the developer to conduct studies on improving on-site safety measures and engage foreign consultants to make sure the project can go on safely.
“They should also make sure the deceased workers’ families are taken care of.”
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KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has been arrested, a day before his 60th birthday and after nearly four hours of questioning by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
Shafie, who was arrested at 9pm yesterday, is expected to be taken to the Kota Kinabalu High Court to be remanded today. MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki confirmed the arrest.
The Parti Warisan Sabah president arrived at the MACC office at about 5.15pm yesterday, after flying in from Kuala Lumpur, to be questioned over projects implemented during his watch as Rural and Regional Development Minister between 2009 and 2015.
In a white shirt, Shafie Apdal was accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Shuryani Shuaib; Warisan vice-president Datuk Peter Anthony who was detained earlier and released on bail; and their lawyers Martin Tommy and Loretto Padua.
Before he left for the MACC office, Shafie told reporters at his Taman Gold View home: “We are willing to facilitate and when they called me, I flew back from Kuala Lumpur.
“It’s a process of law and we need to give our cooperation. We are not going to obstruct and I know that MACC is just doing its job.”
He also said that he was saddened by the detention of his two siblings – Hamid and Yusof – in the investigation but reiterated that MACC was just doing its job.
Urging his supporters to remain calm and to continue the party’s work, Shafie and a relative led a short prayer before heading to the MACC office.
Earlier, a crowd of supporters gathered at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport to greet him.
Later, Shafie was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for overnight observation for having high blood pressure, said his lawyer and Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking.
MACC has so far arrested 10 people, including Shafie’s brothers, his nephew Warisan Youth chief Azis Jamman, Peter, Tenom Umno Youth chief Jamawi Jaafar and his Tawau counterpart Ariffin Kassim, Warisan media representative Armarjit Singh, Hamid’s son-in-law Manzur Hussein Awal Khan, a 52-year-old local contractor and a 40-year-old senior civil servant in Putrajaya, over the case.
Hamid, who was warded at Damai Specialist Hospital for health problems since Sunday has been released on MACC bail.
Magistrate Stephanie Sherron Abbie, granted Hamid bail at RM50,000 in two sureties.
MACC prosecuting officer Mohd Faliq Basirudin said Hamid’s remand was supposed to only end today but he was released earlier because the investigation on him was complete.
Stephanie went to Gleneagles Hospital later, for the release of Manzur, 37, who is also warded over health issues.
He was granted bail at RM30,000 in two sureties and ordered to report once a month to the MACC office.
Yusof is still in MACC custody.