Archive for August, 2011

31
Aug
11

MRT rail, property model is land grab

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has accused Putrajaya of using the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) as an excuse to acquire prime land after it was revealed that the government will rely on property development to foot project costs.

DAP international secretary Liew Chin Tong said the modified rail-and-property model was just “land grab by another name” and accused the Land Public Transport Authority (SPAD) of putting revenue considerations before the needs of the public.

He told The Malaysian Insider that the regulator’s focus on how to maximise returns through property redevelopment rather than public transport requirements was akin to putting the cart before the horse, and called an example of “worst planning practices”.

“You should look at transport needs and how to cater for that before anything else,” Liew said, adding that this called into question whether the alignment of the Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line had been determined by property development propositions rather than demand.

“The most important thing is to think how to get people to work (riding the MRT)… The number one priority is to ensure this is the easiest way to work so you don’t have a peak hour (congestion) problem.”

PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli said the viability of the entire MRT project was now suspect given the risky nature of property developments, especially since the government will incur “huge public debt” financing them.

He pointed out that returns from such developments were not guaranteed as the outlook for the high-end property market was “quite gloomy” and there was already a property glut in the Klang Valley.

“This is the danger of the MRT project if it’s not managed properly,” he said.

Rafizi also questioned the timeline for property development on the acquired land and whether it would take place before or after the MRT is scheduled to begin service in 2016.

..more
Pakatan: MRT rail, property model is land grab
August 27, 2011 – Malaysian Insider

31
Aug
11

Come clean on MRT project

PETALING JAYA: DAP has accused the government of sending mixed signals over the Jalan Sultan MRT (My Rapid Transit) project.

Party supremo Lim Kit Siang demanded that the government come clean over the uncertain fate of Kuala Lumpur’s MRT-afflicted Chinatown lots.

“The affected Jalan Sultan traders and the Malaysian public are entitled to ask, who is telling the truth about the MRT Jalan Sultan land acquisition: (Dr) Chua Soi Lek, Hamid Albar or Idris Jala?” Lim asked in a press statement.

Calling it the latest in Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s “flip-flop list”, the Ipoh Timur MP said that the government was sending mixed signals over the matter.

“Only three days ago, Chua (the MCA president) announced that the government had backtracked from its decision to acquire the land and 31 buildings around Jalan Sultan… to make way for the MRT.”

At the time, lot owners in Chinatown and nearby Bukit Bintang sighed in relief at the news, with some calling it a “slight ray of hope”.

However, Lim added that Land Public Transport Commission chairman Syed Hamid Albar rubbished Chua’s statement, saying that the 31 Jalan Sultan MRT-affected lots required compulsory acquisition.

“Hamid delivered a greater shocker when he declared that there was no guarantee that the acquired Jalan Sultan properties would eventually be returned to the owners,” Lim said.

This was compounded further by a letter from Pemandu chief Idris Jala to the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malaysia (ACCCIM) president William Chen.

Lim said that Idris had tried to justify the government’s pursuit in a “rail-and-property” model through land acquisitions and subsequent developments on them.

Jala, a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said that the government would not be able to cover the cost of the MRT’s first line – Sungai Buloh-Kajang – through costs alone.

Lim also hit out at the government for holding on to “grandiose promises” through its various transformation programmes.

“It (the government) bears the responsbility to satisfy the Jalan Sultan traders and owners as well as the public that the MRT’s project owners, Prasarana, is not attempting to hijack heritage lots (in Chinatown),” he said.

Earlier this month, Chinatown traders got the shock of their lives when they attended a public briefing on the acquisition of their lots.

Many of them were told that they needed to vacate their land at the last minute in order to make way for the upcoming MRT – Malaysia’s largest infrastructure project to date.

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Come clean on MRT project, urges Kit Siang
August 26, 2011 – FMT

30
Aug
11

Parliamentary Select Committee: A tactic to delay, deny and confuse?

When the Prime Minister announced the setting up of a Parliamentary Select Committee on 15 August 2011, a friend rang up to ask me what I thought of it. My immediate response was, “It is a tactic to delay, deny and confuse Malaysians!”

What has transpired since then only seems to confirm this observation.

The onus is with the government now to dispel this notion. And the only way to do it is to give a public pledge to the nation that parliament will not be dissolved any time before the PSC completes its work and presents its findings to parliament to put in place the reformation that is urgently required to ensure free and fair elections.

This undertaking is absolutely necessary to convince Malaysians that there was sincerity and commitment on the part of the PM in setting up this PSC. We need to be assured that the Barisan Nasional government will go all the way to implement the reforms that are demanded by the people.

But what was confusing to Malaysians was the statement made by the PM nine days later that the next general election can be held anytime and will not be bound by the findings of the PSC on electoral reforms. This is perplexing!

In order to call for elections, parliament has to be dissolved and when that is done the PSC lapses. He would have effectively scuttled the PSC and sent it into oblivion. The truth of the matter is that the life of the PSC doesn’t go beyond the life span of the current parliament. When that is the case, then what is the purpose in setting up the PSC to look at the necessary electoral reforms?

By dissolving parliament before the PSC completes its duties entrusted to it, the PM will immediately deny all Malaysians the electoral reforms that were promised by setting up the PSC. Not only that, he will inevitably delay the promised reforms indefinitely.

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Parliamentary Select Committee: A tactic to delay, deny and confuse?
26 August 2011 – Aliran

30
Aug
11

Disaster looming over Bakun

KUCHING: An impending disaster is looming over Bakun Dam following the state government’s failure to implement the recommendations detailed in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, according to environmentalist Dr Ellie Luhat.

Luhat, who is the chairman of Bakun Community Safety Committee (BCSC), warned that disaster would strike the area in the next three to five years.

“There was a study of the EIA reports where recommendations were made. But somehow when the implementation was done, these recommendations were forgotten.

“One of the recommendations was that we get rid of as much as possible the biomass – the trees, branches, twigs, scrubs, and plants – before the dam is to be impounded.

“But they failed to get rid of all these.

“Over the years, these trees, branches and twigs will get rotten and become very toxic to the water and fish.

“According to the EIA reports, if they are not removed, such toxic can cause environmental disaster in three to five years’ time,” he told FMT.

The RM7.2billion Bakun Dam has come under severe criticism over its shoddy construction, safety, displacement of the indigenous communities, health hazards and its impact on the environment

Deaths and isolation

Earlier this week, it was reported that some 30,000 residents in the Kapit, Belaga and Nanga Merit upriver areas were cut off from the rest of the world because the voluminous Rajang River had depleted following the impoundment of the Bakun Dam.

The current dry spell and the channelling of the Rajang water to the Bakun Dam were blamed for the situation.

State Land Development Minister James Masing in an immediate reaction said he anticipated the situation to worsen.

His pessimism was further confirmed when the management of Bakun hydro-electric dam reportedly said that the water is expected to be released through the spillways in October.

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Disaster looming over Bakun
August 25, 2011 – FMT

29
Aug
11

MCA founder’s granddaughter lauds Guan Eng’s policies

Lim Guan Eng received praise from an unexpected source today when the granddaughter of the MCA’s first president and daughter of the country’s longest-serving finance minister said the Penang chief minister should be given his due for the state’s prudent management of public funds.

Tan Siok Choo, the daughter of Tun Tan Siew Sin and granddaughter of Tun Sir Tan Cheng Lock — both of whom were former MCA presidents — told BFM radio this morning that it was good that Lim had shown what could be done by eliminating waste and implementing open tenders.

“For my father… he was always very particular that government funds should be looked after like your own funds. I think it is in a way, currently, very good that Lim Guan Eng (picture), Chief Minister of Penang, has shown what can be done if you eliminate waste and if you have an open tender.

“The fact that he has been able to run Penang without much contribution from the federal government and yet turn in, yet attract one of the highest rates of investment, I think speaks for itself.

“And this is barring the fact that when my father was in politics, Kit Siang never had a good word to say about my father. So there is history between our two fathers but I think one must give Guan Eng his due,” she told the radio station’s Morning Grille programme.

Siok Choo’s father Siew Sin was finance minister from 1959 until 1974. Guan Eng’s father Kit Siang became an MP for the first time in 1969 and eventually became parliamentary opposition leader.

Her remarks today come as the DAP is increasingly being seen as the party of choice for the country’s Chinese community while the MCA, the party founded by Siok Choo’s grandfather Cheng Lock, appears to be floundering.

Recently, international news magazine The Economist also praised Guan Eng’s open tender policies and credited his administration with helping Penang regain its lustre as a “global city” by lifting the state’s economy to beyond that of a sweat shop industry.

The international weekly dubbed Penang “the first custom-made city of globalisation” and credited Guan Eng for boosting the port city’s revival by axing a racial special treatment economic policy in the state to create a more level-playing field that appeals to foreign investors.

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MCA founder’s granddaughter lauds Guan Eng’s policies in Penang
August 25, 2011 – Malaysian Insider

29
Aug
11

MyOverseasVote group welcomes EC’s postal vote option

A group representing Malaysians living abroad have welcomed the Election Commission’s (EC) announcement that there’s a possibility of them voting using postal ballots in the next general election.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof made the announcement today, adding the commission was also looking at using a controversial biometric system with indelible ink, as proposed by the Bersih 2.0 group seeking free and fair elections.

“For the past year, MyOverseasVote have been lobbying the EC to extend the right to vote by post to all citizens residing overseas, and not just civil servants, servicemen and students

‘While we are gratified that our position has, with the help of public pressure and the influence of the global Bersih 2.0 campaign, now been accepted in principle,” said the MyOverseasVote group in a statement issued in Australia.

MyOverseasVote said it will continue to monitor the details put forward and seek to work with the EC “to ensure that the right to vote for Malaysian citizens overseas is realised expeditiously and in good time for the next general election, while also ensuring that the electoral system is not thereby opened up to any potential abuse”.

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Malaysian voting group welcomes EC’s postal vote option
August 25, 2011 – Malaysian Insider

28
Aug
11

Anwar slams “show trial”

As expected, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim decided to give his statement from the dock on the sodomy charges pressed against him by Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government so as to avoid being lynched by a prosecution that has been tainted by allegation of political bias towards Najib, who considers Anwar his main rival for the country’s top job.

“Given that the 13th general election is nearby, there is little doubt that UMNO may use the prosecutors to do their character assassination against Anwar. Why should he be so stupid as to invite that?” PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

“It’s the PM and gang who are scared. Why didn’t they come forward as witnesses. Anwar does not have a fair trial. The prosecution is politically motivated. Why should he indulge in this charade?” PKR legal director Latheefa Koya told Malaysia Chronicle.”

Anwar had taken the witness stand in the 1998 sodomy trial from which he was fully aquitted, but only after spending 6 years in jail due to trumped-up charges he blamed on ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad of fixing.

Under Malaysia’s Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), Anwar can choose to testify from the witness box, from the dock, or keep silent. If he takes the witness stand, he can be questioned, whereas from the dock, he can present his statement without cross-questioning.

Anwar was immediately warned by controversial trial judge Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah that the court may mark his choice against him as it left no avenue for the prosecution to challenge him.

Does not expect a fair, lambasts Najib and Rosmah for hatching the conspiracy with Saiful

Anwar was accused of sodomising a former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan in June 2008 soon after announcing his decision to return to active politics and making a comeback to Parliament. He has denied the charges and accused Najib and wife Rosmah Mansor of hatching the plot together with Saiful, ex-Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan and Malacca Police Mohd Rodhwan Ismail to kill his political career.

In his statement, Anwar said he had no expectation he would be given a fair by the Mohd Zabidin, whom he pointed out had blatantly ‘closed an eye’ during every significant stage in the trial whenever it became clear the evidence had been allegedly concocted, or was suspect and false.

He again lambasted Najib, Rosmah, Musa and Rodhwan for the roles in the conspiracy against him. Not surprisingly, all four had declined to take the witness stand and even refused to be interviewed prior to Monday’s trial, unless they were subpoenaed.

…more
Anwar slams “show trial”: By destroying me, Najib thinks he can destroy Pakatan
22 August 2011 – Malaysia Chronicle




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How the 1MDB Scandal Spread Across the World (WSJ)
We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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