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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Rafizi challenges KJ and deputy to debate Mara property purchase

PKR vice-president and secretary-general Rafizi Ramli has challenged Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin or his deputy Khairul Azwan Harun or both of them, to debate over the alleged abuse of Mara funds in the purchase of property.
This if the Malay nationalist party wants to prove it is looking after the public funds of the bumiputera, he said.
Rafizi, who is also Pandan MP, said Khairul Azwan's defamation suit against him is going to trial on June 6 and 7 as mediation had failed today, and he had obtained leave to file an affidavit to submit a transcript from the Melbourne court case proceedings, as part of his evidence.
“While we await the hearing of the suit, the facts of the transaction involving Mara and several individuals linked to Umno Youth. continue to gain traction,” he said.
“Till today there is no action or announcement confirming that Mara funds were abused by certain individuals and if they were returned to Mara.
“This is in light of Mara's sudden reduction in the giving out of education loans, following Mara's failure to get the funds returned. This showed the government and Umno have failed in their duty.
“Hence, I would like to ask Khairul Azwan, as Umno Youth deputy chief, what are the steps that he has taken to help Mara recover these funds, so that it could help finance bumiputera students.

“Has any action been taken on the Umno Youth members allegedly involved according to the documents and official transcript from Australia?” Rafizi asked in a statement today.
He said the funds involved were enormous and the facts are from the announcement made by Mara itself, minister's reply in Parliament and the documentation of the transactions including:
  • Thrushcross Land Holdings Ltd which was bought by Mara Inc in 2014 at a cost of A$86.9 million (or RM260.7 million). A$64.4 million (RM193.2 million) was for the purchase of the company and A$22.5 million (RM67.5 million) was to pay the debts incurred by the Thrushcross. This answer was given by the Rural Development minister in Parliament.
  • Thrushcross was owned by individuals related to Umno leaders who are in Umno Youth, and this allegation is made in Rafizi's previous statement on the blog.
  • Thrushcross bought two student hostels at a reduced price where Unilodge Swanston Street costs A$23.5 million (RM70.5 million) and Dudley House cost A$22.6 million (RM67.8 million). The total cost of purchase of the two hostels was A$46.1 million (RM138.3 million) but sold to Mara Inc at A$64.4 million (RM193.2 million).
  • This meant Mara Inc not only purchased the two student hostels at a high price but also paid the debt by Thrushcross to purchase the hostels which was then sold to Mara Inc.
  • As a result of this dubious transaction, Mara Inc. had to sell the two properties at its current value of A$30 million. This meant that Mara Inc lost A$26.9 million (or RM80.7 million).
  • This also meant that the owners of Thrushcross Land Holdings who are individuals related to Umno leaders and in Umno Youth, obtained a profit of A$40.8 million (RM122.4 million).
  • Of the RM122.4 million in profit, a total of RM14.3 million was paid to companies related to individuals and Umno Youth leaders, Rafizi alleged.
The Pandan MP expressed concern that the abuse of Mara funds could bring a big impact to bumiputera students if this was left quiet.
“Hence I challenge Khairy or Khairul Azwan or both of them to debate with me over this alleged abuse in Mara funds to prove that Umno Youth is responsible in safeguarding the bumiputera public funds,” he said. -Mkini

Cabinet meeting in Kuching to support S'wak - Zahid

S'WAK POLLS | Deputy Prime prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the weekly cabinet meeting which will be in Kuching tomorrow, is to support Sarawak under the leadership of Chief Minister Adenan Satem.
Ahmad Zahid said it was suggested by Prime Minister Najib Razak.
“He (Najib) feels that he needs to be around and he would like to get the commitment from every cabinet minister. Therefore, we agreed to his suggestion.
“The cabinet meeting tomorrow is to show our commitment and moral support to the state government’s leadership. This is also for us to translate our support to Adenan and also his vision.
“With the support of the federal government under Najib, we are here to be with the people of Sarawak,” he said during his visit to the Bernama media operations centre in Kuching today.

The last cabinet meeting held outside Kuala Lumpur was in 1999 in Langkawi during the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima).
Culture and Tourism Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz recently said that the cabinet meeting would be held here as there are eight federal ministers from Sarawak, who are involved in the state election campaign.
Nazri said it was also convenient for other ministers in the relevant portfolios to be around during the election.

ACS wants Adenan to convince Federal gov't to reverse 'Allah' ban

Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem has been urged to convince the federal government to allow the use of 'Allah' throughout Malaysia by the Association of Churches Sarawak (ACS).
ACS secretary-general Ambrose Linang touched on this in welcoming the assurance from Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak that the National Registration Department (NRD) will withdraw its appeal against Rooney Rebit who wished to convert from Islam to Christianity.
It was reported that Adenan had personally intervened in Rebit's case to uphold the latter’s constitutional right of being a Christian, and Najib had given the assurance.
He thanked Adenan for his good efforts and commitment to uphold religious freedom and they looked forward to NRD's withdrawal of its appeal in Rebit's case as soon as possible.
“This is so that the High Court order is complied by the NRD without further delay.
“We also call on the federal government and NRD not to object to similar cases in future. ACS remain hopeful that a Ministry of Non-Muslim affairs be established by the Sarawak government to look after the affairs and interests of non-Muslims.
“ACS urges the CM to convince the Federal government to reverse the ban on the use of the word Allah by Christians, and that Christians be allowed to use the word Allah in any part of the Federation in the practice of their faith,” Ambrose added further.
Rebit, a Bidayuh who was converted to Islam as a child, in a landmark ruling on March 24, had been granted a declaration by the Kuching High Court that he is a Christian in accordance with his constitutional right to freedom of religion, as he is now an adult.
It ordered NRD to change his name to Rooney Rebit and his religion from Islam to Christianity in his identity card and its records. The department filed an appeal against the decision on April 22.
NRD was the only party which objected to the decision. The Sarawak Islamic Religious Department (Jais) and the Sarawak Islamic Council had no objections.

MIC president, Dr S Subramaniam also welcomed the assurance made by Najib that the NRD would withdraw the case and discontinue the appeal against the High Court decision.
"This is the correct decision and also an important precedent," the MIC president said.
Sarawak is facing its state election with early voting beginning today and general voting on Saturday. -Mkini

Mahathir too is not like his father, snipes Rosmah's aide

An aide to prime minister's wife Rosmah Mansor pointed out that ex-premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad is nothing like his own father, just as Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is not like his father.
"In simple terms, Mahathir too is not the same as his own father. This is as his dad was a teacher, while Mahathir is a doctor who later became a politician," said Rizal Mansor in a Facebook posting today.
He was responding to Mahathir's speech in Jitra several days ago, commenting on an earlier speech by Najib in his hometown Pekan saying that he is nothing like his father, Abdul Razak Hussein.
In his later speech, Mahathir had accused Najib of looking down on Abdul Razak by not truly emulating the man that fathered him.
"It is not difficult to understand what Najib said about the difference between him and his dad. He was differentiating the current lifestyle with that of those in an older age. There is nothing strange about that.
"While the kampung folks in Pekan understood what Najib meant easily. It is unfortunate that the man who was PM for 22 years had misinterpreted it until it became something far off the mark," he said, in an apparent dig at Mahathir's faculties.
Rizal lamented that despite his open gratitude for having been rescued from political limbo by the late Abdul Razak who salvaged his political career by appointing him education minister after his expulsion from Umno in 1969, Mahathir's gratitude seemed to have turned to scorn.
"Indeed, all his gratitude which he said cannot be forgotten turned into words of scorn just because he failed to oust the late Abdul Razak's son, Najib," alleged Rizal.
He asked if Mahathir was that desperate to oust Najib that he would train his guns on his late benefactor.
"Or is Mahathir intentionally trying to say that Tun Abdul Razak is useless?" asked Rosmah's aide further.
He argued that logically no normal person would say bad things about their own parents, what more those who had long since passed away.

"All those who know Najib closely will not be able to accept the jibe thrown by Mahathir," said Rizal asking if desperation has led to Mahathir losing his judgement, and making up such slanderous statements towards the premier and his dad.
"At least Najib succeeded in following in his father's footsteps to become prime minister, something which Mahathir's much doted on son is far from accomplishing," concluded Rizal.
Rizal's statement is the latest in a series of tit for tat exchanges between aides to the PM and his wife, engaging with critics like Mahathir through the media. -Mkini

Monday, May 2, 2016

EPF to deliver good returns above inflation rate

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is optimistic that it will continue to deliver real rate of return of 2.0 percent above the rate of inflation this year despite the volatility in equity markets, says chief executive officer Shahril Ridza Ridzuan.
He said the “inflation plus 2.0" key target, which defined its contribution to investors, has led EPF to outperform over the last five to six years when it managed to deliver a larger return of “inflation plus 4.0".
“In the first quarter of this year, the equity market performance was very tough not only for EPF but also for any investment fund manager around the world given the high volatility and low yield.
“So we expect, with all these challenges, to continue focusing on the ‘inflation plus 2.0' to ensure that we can deliver real growth for our investors and members for a very long period of time,” he told reporters after releasing the fund’s 2015 Annual Report in Kuala Lumpur today.
Meanwhile, Bank Negara Malaysia expected inflation to grow between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent this year.

Form internal team to probe ROS 'wrongdoing', ministry urged

After gunning down the DAP, the People's Alternative Party (PAP) has urged the Home Ministry to probe the alleged wrongdoing of the Registrar of Societies (ROS).
This follow's the party's chairman Zulkifli Mohd Nor urging Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on April 22 to explain why the DAP was allowed to contest in the Sarawak state polls.
PAP national organising secretary Rahmad Isahak said the Home Ministry should form an internal team to investigate how ROS could allow DAP to contest in the Sarawak election.
"How could ROS allow DAP candidates to contest in the 11th Sarawak state polls when the agency does not recognise the party's central executive committee," Rahmad said in a statement.
"Something appears to be wrong when ROS' own order to DAP under Section 16 (1) of the 1996 ROS Act failed to be applied to DAP," he added.
"This issue involves public interest as ROS has failed to act against DAP although three years have passed," he said.
In September 2013, DAP re-elected a new central executive committee but ROS has refused to ratify the new leadership line-up.
ROS said it was still receiving "new complaints" about the DAP’s re-election exercise.
Rahmad claimed that Penang DAP chief Chow Kon Yeow on April 30 this year had verified that ROS has not recognised the party's CEC.

He accused ROS of keeping silent towards the PAP's queries about its conduct towards the DAP.
He also said that DAP's 31 candidates in the Sarawak polls were "illegal" as their letters of appointment (watikah) were issued by a CEC that was not recognised by ROS.
"This has given rise to negative public impression against the ROS," he said.
"So please initiate an internal probe to see who is the black hand behind the ROS, and why the agency has given the DAP such special treatment," he added. -Mkini

Water disruption in some Hulu Langat areas on May 10, 11

Consumers in 19 areas in Hulu Langat are to experience disruption in water supply on May 10 and 11 due to replacement of pipes, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) said today.
Syabas said in a statement the pipe replacement would be carried out from 8pm on May 10 to 3am on May 11, and that it was to improve water distribution in the areas.
“Supply will be restored in stages after completion of the work,” it added.
Syabas named the areas as Taman Industri Selesa Jaya Seri Kembangan, Taman Industri Balakong Jaya, Kawasan Perindustrian Balakong, Taman Impian Ehsan, Taman Sinaran, Taman Taming Ria, Kawasan Perniagaan Desaria Seri Kembangan, Taman Setia Balakong.
Taman Impian Indah, Taman Juara Jaya, Taman Bukit Belimbing, Taman Seri Belimbing, Taman Harmoni Indah, Taman Desa Karunmas, Taman Putra Budiman, Taman Balakong Jaya, Taman Seri Timah, Taman Tanming Jaya 1 & 2 and Taman Bukit Emas.
Syabas advised the consumers to store enough water for their need during the period of disruption.
It said emergency water supply would be provided to hospitals, dialysis centres and premises housing the disabled.
Consumers would be notified earlier through WhatsApp, Twitter, the Puspel Facebook and over the www.syabas.com.my website as well as the ‘mySyabas’ application, it added.