Altantuya case: Razak acquitted

Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda walked out a free man from the High Court here after two years of standing trial for abetment in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.

The first thing he did after the judge pronounced his freedom was to hug his daughter Rowena and wife Mazlinda Makhzan.

Justice Mohd Zaki Md Yasin ruled that the exculpatory statements in a tell-all affidavit made by Razak at the outset of the trial had cleared him of the abetment charge.

“In the absence of the rebuttal evidence against them, coupled with the fact that there is no legal onus for him to rebut any statutory presumptions, there is clearly no reason for the statements to be ignored and rejected.

“I agree with the counsel that the exculpatory parts which are corroborated in material particulars (by four witnesses) and other surrounding circumstances have clearly negated and nullified the act of abetment as alleged against the accused,’’ Zaki said while reading out his ruling.

The four witnesses were Razak’s private eye P. Balasubramaniam, Altantuya’s cousin Burmaa Oyunchimeg, an old flame of principal accused C/Insp Azilah Hadri, who is a Special Action Squad (UTK) operative - L/Kpl Rohaniza Roslan and Razak’s secretary Siti Aishah Mohd Azlan.

At the start of the trial, Abdul Razak filed an affidavit saying he had an affair with Altantuya after meeting her in 2004.

The tell-all affidavit said they had trysts in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and France, but broke up in 2005.

The judge’s ruling on Friday came after he had perused about 6,000 pages of notes of proceedings and written submissions.

Justice Zaki said once the essential elements of abetment of the murder was not proven on a prima facie basis, “any other inferences and doubts that may have arisen must be resolved, as is trite, in favour of the accused (Razak)”.

“It is not for the court to call for the defence merely to clear or clarify such doubts. I find there is no prima facie case for him to answer his charge. He is therefore acquitted and discharged forthwith,’’ he said.

The trial began in November 2006, during which 84 prosecution witnesses testified.
Also in the dock for the murder charge is another UTK operative Kpl Sirul Azhar Umar, 37.

Both C/Insp Azilah and Kpl Sirul Azhar were ordered to enter their defence on Friday against the charge of murdering Altantuya near Shah Alam, Selangor, between 10pm on Oct 19, 2006 and 1am the following day.

They chose to testify under oath. Trial has been set for Nov 10 onwards.

60 days to rear seatbelt ruling

The sixty day countdown to the compulsory wearing of rear seatbelts begins tomorrow.

Beginning Saturday, the authorities will be conducting daily enforcement operations to ensure motorists start wearing the seatbelts even before it becomes compulsory from Jan 1.

Road Safety Department director-general Datuk Suret Singh said if motorists did not want to have their journeys interrupted, then they should wear the seatbelts.

“If not, the police will stop you, question you and give you a pep talk,” he told reporters Friday after carrying out a road safety advocacy campaign at the Sungai Besi highway here.

Suret Singh said research among some 2,000 respondents had shown that 70%-75% were aware of the importance of wearing rear seatbelts.

“However, 60% said they would only start using it when it was compulsory while 80% are not even aware that it would be compulsory effective Jan 1.”

Suret Singh also cautioned those with children saying that those under five years were not allowed to wear adult seatbelts and needed to be put on child safety seats.

“As for those between the ages of five and 10, they can use the adult seatbelt but will need a booster for height,” he said.

Suret Singh added that Proton and Perodua would be announcing in early December the schedule for the free retrofitting of cars without rear seatbelts.

He said motorists owning such cars should not feel the need to rush as the department had given the manufacturers a period of three years to ensure all these cars were retrofitted.


Restaurateurs explain why food won’t get cheaper

Food at restaurants and hawker stalls will not be cheaper despite the price cut of consumer goods by hypermarkets.

“It does not make sense for us to reduce the price of food at restaurants unless the petrol price is reverted to RM1.92,” said Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Associa­tion president Jamarulkhan Kadir.

“All this while, we have been absorbing higher costs as we haven’t been increasing our food prices even after the price hikes. So I don’t see why we should lower our prices now,” he told The Star yesterday.

Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association president Datuk Ramalingam Pillai also felt that the petrol price reduction did not justify restaurants charging their customers less.

“The question of us cutting our prices does not arise as we have always maintained our prices,” he said, adding that it was only fair that restaurants made up for their reduced profits now.

Taiping Hawkers Association chair­man Tan Thian Kooi said it was un­­likely that hawkers would lower their prices because suppliers were reluctant to reduce the price of ingre­dients.

“It is difficult for hawker food prices to change according to petrol prices as they are also dependent on the cost of supplies,” he said.

Tan added that the high electricity tariff would deter factories producing the ingredients to lower prices.

COMMENTS : ITS NOW THE CONSUMERS' POWER - Its your money, its your decision.

Shahrir wants petrol priced not lower than RM1.92

The minimum price of petrol should be RM1.92 per litre even if the global oil price continues to fall, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said.

He said this would bring some stability to the retail price of petrol and minimise losses by petrol station owners.

Setting a minimum price would also enable the Government to reduce its subsidy on petrol if the global price fell further.

“The upper limit will be RM2.70 and it is my feeling that this is the optimal range,” Shahrir said when commenting on the losses petrol station dealers face whenever the price of petrol is reduced.

Ahmad Sarpur, a dealer in Johor, said dealers could lose between RM13,000 and RM25,000 each time petrol is reduced by 15 sen per litre.

“This is because there is a minimum order quantity of 21,000 litres that we must pay for immediately. There is no credit,” he said.

“If the petrol is delivered in the morning and the price is reduced at night, we have to sell petrol 15 sen cheaper than what we had paid for it.”

However, Shahrir said the Govern­ment had been fair to the dealers saying: “We have not reduced their margin of 12 sen per litre after it was increased in June and we will try as much as we can to keep upcoming price reductions to 15 sen at a time.”

Shahrir said this meant a minimal loss of three sen per litre.

Ahmad pointed out that it was difficult for dealers to hedge on prices as they were not given prior notice of price changes. He said the dealers should be given three days’ warning before a price change to carry their optimal amount of stock.

Dr M: Not the right time to adjust 30% bumi equity

Perfect host: Dr Mahathir greeting guests to the Perkim Hari Raya open house at Bangunan Perkim

It is not the right time to adjust the 30% bumiputra equity in public-listed companies because the objectives of the New Eco­no­mic Policy have not been achieved, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

“If we adjust the equity to 20% and the economy expands, the share of bumiputras will still be below 30%,” he said at the Muslim Welfare Organisa­tion (Per­kim) Hari Raya open house yesterday.

He said there were still many objectives in the NEP which must be achieved before the 30% equity rule could be dropped.

“If you lower the 30% to 20%, non-bumiputras will have 40% equity. In that case, they should have a lower equity too,” he said.

However, Dr Mahathir said that in protecting the rights of bumiputras, economic policies must also consider the rights of non-bumiputras.

“We have to look at both sides. Be rational about it. At the moment, I don’t agree we should change the (equity rule). It’s not the right time for adjustment because the world economy is in turmoil,” he said.

MCA vice-president Datuk Liow Tiong Lai had suggested on Monday that the mandatory 30% bumiputra equity in local main board companies be abolished to ensure competitiveness in the current world economic meltdown.

Earlier, Dr Mahathir, who is Perkim chairman, said the tradition of hosting open houses should not be abused for political gain, to hold demonstrations or bad-mouth others.

“Don’t let the actions of some quarters discourage the concept of open house,” he said.

At an interview over TV channel Astro Awani last night, Dr Mahathir said Umno must eradicate money politics, adding:

“If in the present situation the culture of money politics is not changed among leaders, I fear that voters will get bored with the behaviour of leaders due to monetary bribery,” he said.


Telur di pasaran bebas melamin

Kementerian Pertanian dan Industri Asas Tani semalam mengesahkan telur ayam yang dipasarkan di negara ini tidak tercemar dengan melamin kerana semua produk berkenaan adalah keluaran tempatan bukannya diimport.

Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Perkhidmatan Veterinar, Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz Jamaluddin, berkata Malaysia tidak mengimport telur sama ada dari China atau mana-mana negara kerana pengeluaran tempatan sudah cukup untuk menampung permintaan.

“Kita memang tidak pernah membuka permit import untuk mana-mana negara bagi produk telur kerana sudah mempunyai 115 peratus pengeluaran telur ayam yang mencukupi untuk menampung permintaan pengguna dan juga pengusaha kek, roti dan pastri.

“Jadi orang ramai tidak perlu ragu-ragu untuk membeli telur di pasaran kerana produk berkenaan bebas daripada pencemaran melamin,” katanya ketika dihubungi di sini, semalam.

Beliau berkata demikian bagi mengulas isu telur ayam di Hong Kong yang diimport dari China mengandungi 4.7 satu bahagian per sejuta (ppm) melamin, melebihi tahap yang dibenarkan iaitu 2.5 ppm.

Sementara itu, Pengarah Bahagian Keselamatan dan Kualiti Makanan Kementerian Kesihatan, Noraini Mohd Othman, berkata pihaknya tidak akan mengambil sampel produk berkenaan di pasaran tempatan untuk diuji.

Kerajaan disyor wujudkan Pelan Pekerjaan Nasional

Kerajaan disaran mewujudkan Pelan Pekerjaan Nasional sebagai polisi atau garis panduan khusus bagi mengatasi kebergantungan negara terhadap pekerja asing.

Pengarah Eksekutif Persekutuan Majikan Malaysia (MEF), Shamsuddin Bardan, berkata langkah itu dijangka mampu meningkatkan penggunaan sumber tenaga kerja tempatan secara optimum di samping mengurangkan pekerja asing dengan berkesan selaras kehendak kerajaan.

Beliau berkata, kerajaan perlu mencontohi Jepun yang berjaya merangka dan melaksanakan pelan itu bukan saja untuk mengurangkan pergantungan terhadap pekerja asing malah berjaya menarik sumber tenaga kerja tempatan di kalangan wanita berkeluarga dan pesara untuk bergiat semula dalam semua sektor pekerjaan.

“Negara kita contohnya, hanya memanfaatkan 46 peratus sumber tenaga kerja wanita walhal setiap tahun institut pengajian tinggi (IPT) tempatan mengeluarkan lebih 60 peratus siswazah wanita yang berkebolehan. Suasana ini terjadi kerana kebanyakan wanita bekerjaya berhenti kerja apabila mula berkeluarga dan mempunyai anak.

“Negara juga mempunyai hampir 800,000 tenaga kerja profesional serta kakitangan awam yang bersara wajib pada umur 56 tahun setiap tahun dan kebanyakan mereka masih mampu menyumbang kepada negara tetapi sumber tenaga mereka tidak digunakan sepenuhnya.

“Pelan Pekerjaan Nasional boleh merangka polisi dan undang-undang buruh yang lebih anjal dalam menarik kembali wanita berkeluarga dan pesara profesional ini bekerja semula.

Jika negara menggunakan sepenuhnya 60 peratus siswazah wanita yang dikeluarkan IPT tempatan, negara mampu mengurangkan sehingga 1.2 juta pekerja asing setiap tahun,” katanya ketika dihubungi, semalam.

Rang daftar pemilih tambahan dipamer hari ini

Rang Daftar Pemilih Tambahan bagi Suku Tahun Ketiga 2008 akan dipamerkan mulai hari ini hingga 3 Novembr depan di 985 tempat seluruh negara selaras dengan Peraturan-Peraturan Pilihan Raya (Pendaftaran Pemilih) 2002.

Pegawai Perhubungan Awam Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR), Sabri Said, berkata ia dipamerkan di Pejabat Pilihan Raya Negeri, Pejabat Pos Berkomputer, Kompleks/Pejabat Kerajaan, Pejabat Daerah/Pejabat Tanah, Majlis Daerah/Perbandaran serta Dewan Serbaguna, Rukun Tetangga, Balai Raya dan Balai Penghulu.

"Sepanjang tempoh urusan pendaftaran pemilih Suku Tahun Ketiga di antara Julai hingga September tahun ini, SPR telah menerima 24,531 permohonan pemilih baru dan 6,200 permohonan untuk pertukaran alamat pusat mengundi.

"Sehubungan itu mana-mana warganegara Malaysia yang terbabit dalam kedua-dua permohonan tersebut diminta agar menyemak Rang Daftar Pemilih yang dipamerkan itu," katanya dalam kenyataan di sini hari ini.

Mana-mana individu yang mendapati nama mereka tidak tersenarai dalam daftar pemilih itu boleh membuat tuntutan menggunakan Borang B dalam tempoh tujuh hari dari tarikh daftar pemilih dipamerkan. Pemilih yang ingin membuat bantahan atas kemasukan mana-mana nama pemilih bagi bahagian tertentu pula boleh berbuat demikian dengan menggunakan Borang C juga dalam tempoh tujuh hari.

Daftar itu juga mempamerkan nama-nama yang dikeluarkan daripada daftar pemilih atas sebab kematian, lucut hak warganegara, persaraan daripada Angkatan Tentera Malaysia atau Polis Diraja Malaysia dan sebagainya," katanya.

Sehubungan itu, semua waris bagi pemilih yang meninggal dunia diminta menghantar salinan sijil kematian atau permit mengubur kepada Pejabat Pilihan Raya di kawasan masing-masing.

"Ia boleh dihantar menerusi faks, pos atau datang sendiri ke pejabat SPR yang berdekatan," katanya. Bagi penyemakan Daftar Pemilih Induk 2007 untuk sebarang pembetulan ke atas butir-butir diri pula, Sabri berkata ia boleh dilakukan menerusi e-mel kepada, surat atau datang sendiri ke pejabat SPR.

Sebarang pertanyaan lanjut hubungi ibu pejabat SPR di talian 03 88856500 atau menerusi faks di talian 03 88889117 atau pejabat SPR atau laman web SPR di

- Bernama

Harga minyak mentah menjunam AS$60 setong

Harga minyak mentah dunia menjunam semalam, terentah dalam masa 17 bulan berikutan kebimbangan kemelesetan ekonomi global yang menyaksikan permintaan terhadap bahan api itu menurun.

Di New York harga minyak light sweet bagi Disember menjunam 93 sen untuk ditutup kepada AS$63.22 setong.

Pada satu ketika, harga bahan api itu berada pada kedudukan terendah iaitu AS$61.30, paras sama pada Mei 2007.

Di London, minyak mentah Brent North Sea bgi Disember merosot kepada AS$59.02 setong, paras terendah sejak Februari 2007, sebelum ditutup AS$61.41 setong, menurun 64 sen.

Kemerosotan harga minyak itu membawa kesan dramatik kepada penurunan harga saham di Asia semalam, termasuk indeks Nikkei di Tokyo yang menyaksikan penurunan terendah sejak 1982. - AFP


Lebih banyak layar bestari jika projek perintis di Kapit berjaya -Ahmad Shabery

Tayangan wayang gambar bergerak oleh Jabatan Penerangan yang kini dinamai sebagai “Layar Bestari” akan diperluaskan di seluruh negara jika projek perintisnya yang dilancarkan di sini hari ini mendapat sambutan hangat masyarakat.

Menteri Penerangan Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek berkata Layar Bestari merupakan satu lagi medium untuk menyalurkan polisi kerajaan kepada rakyat.

“Ia juga berguna untuk memperolehi maklum balas daripada rakyat akar umbi mengenai polisi yang dilancarkan oleh kerajaan. Ia merupakan pendekatan paling ideal dan lebih kos efektif untuk mendekati penduduk pedalaman dan rumah panjang,” katanya kepada pemberita sebelum melancarkan program pertama Layar Bestari yang berwajah baru menerusi penggunaan sistem audio visual canggih, di sini malam ini.

Layar Bestari atau Wayang Pacak yang dikenali sebelum ini, mendapat sambutan terutama di kalangan penduduk luar bandar ketika belum meluasnya pemilikan peti televisyen di kalangan mereka

Hindraf members released for Deepavali

All 11 members of the banned Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), who were arrested under the Societies Act after they held an illegal gathering outside the prime minister's office on Thursday, have been released.

Their release was greeted with shouts of joy and relief by about 100 family members and supporters of the outlawed movement who stationed themselves outside the district police station as early as 9.30am today.

The group was accompanied by a battery of lawyers, including Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, and a few Pakatan Rakyat MPs.

Their release was signed at about noon by Kajang magistrate’s court registrar Bonney Empoh, who was escorted into the police station about 11am.

No untoward incident was reported despite the presence of the Light Strike Force and traffic personnel who were deployed to control the crowd.

Gobind said all of them were released on RM1,000 police bail each. "They have to report to the station again in one month's time.

"We were told that the police were still investigating their cases before forwarding their recommendations to the Attorney-General's Chambers," he added.

A police spokesman said all of them were freed to enable them to celebrate Deepavali.

"Although the police, under the law, could extend their remand orders to facilitate investigations, yet on humanitarian ground they were released to enable them to celebrate the festive occasion," the spokesman added.

All those released, including the man who had to be admitted to Putrajaya Hospital on Thursday night due to medical complications and the woman who fainted while explaining the conditions of the police lock-up to a magistrate on Friday when they were remanded, were in good spirit.

They were spotted smiling and waving to the crowd who also came with bouquets of flowers.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar had said the action against the banned movement should not be construed as a clampdown on Indians or Hinduism by the government.

The action taken so far, he said, was simply because of their association with militancy and their extremist views.

Under Section 48 of the Societies Act, those convicted could face a maximum five years' imprisonment or slapped with a maximum fine of RM15,000.

Tukun tiruan reefball selamatkan spesies penyu Sarawak

Kerja-kerja pelepasan tukun tiruan ke dasar laut dengan menggunakan kren oleh kakitangan Kumpulan Kerja Tukun Tiruan Reefball Sarawak di Pulau Talang Besar

Seringkali kita mendengar kepupusan penyu adalah akibat daripada perbuatan orang ramai yang memakan telur penyu sama ada dibeli secara haram ataupun dicuri oleh individu yang tidak bertanggungjawab.

Selain itu, kepupusan penyu juga dipengaruhi aktiviti pembunuhan penyu oleh nelayan yang tidak bertanggungjawab apabila penyu tersangkut pada pukat-pukat mereka.

Bagi mengatasi masalah ini, satu penyelesaian yang boleh dipraktikkan ialah dengan meletakkan lebih banyak tukun tiruan di dasar lautan di kawasan-kawasan penyu mendarat.

Bagaimanapun kos membina tukun tiruan agak mahal kerana kebanyakannya diperbuat daripada konkrit dan ini sedikit sebanyak menghalang usaha kerajaan mahupun pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) dalam melindungi hidupan marin.

Sarawak, selain terkenal dengan spesies buaya dan orang utan, ia juga terkenal dengan empat jenis spesies penyu yang mudah ditemui di sepanjang perairan negeri ini iaitu Penyu Hijau, Penyu Agar, Penyu Lekang dan Penyu Belimbing.

Spesies-spesies itu turut menjadi ancaman apabila pihak yang tidak bertanggungjawab membunuh penyu-penyu itu. Pernah direkodkan sebanyak 100 ekor penyu telah dibunuh setiap tahun sebelum 1998.

Bagaimanapun, menerusi inisiatif Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) sebagai pihak yang bertanggungjawab melindungi hidupan liar yang terancam melalui projek tukun tiruan reefball (TTR) pada 1998, jumlah penyu yang dibunuh didapati telah berkurangan kepada 20 ekor setahun.

Tukun tiruan reefball akan memastikan hidupan marin khasnya penyu terus dilindungi di perairan Sarawak. Projek ini juga berjaya menghalang penyu daripada tersangkut pada pukat-pukat haram di perairan Sarawak dan mampu meningkatkan jumlah populasi penyu dan mengelakkannya daripada terbunuh akibat terperangkap di dalam pukat haram.

Pada 2008, SFC telah mencatatkan sebanyak 1,762 ekor penyu mendarat di TNTS berbanding 737 ekor pada 2004.


TNTS ( Taman Negara Talang Satang ) seluas 19,414 hektar merangkumi Pulau Talang Kecil, Pulau Satang Besar dan Pulau Satang Kecil yang merupakan kawasan pendaratan penyu yang utama di Sarawak.

Modest Deepavali celebration this year

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (centre) attends Deepavali open house at Dewan Merdeka, Putra World Trade Centre

With the Hari Raya mood still in the air, Indians nationwide on Monday celebrated a joyous Deepavali, with leaders and members of the community welcoming guests and friends at their open houses.

Blessed with fair weather in many areas, Hindu followers started their day with prayers at the temples followed by visits to open houses, a tradition practised by the country’s multiracial community during major celebrations.

The MIC, a Barisan Nasional component party, held its open house at the Dewan Merdeka in Putra World Trade Centre, here, from 10am to 1pm, attended by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and cabinet ministers.

- Bernama


4 biskut China, 27 biskut Malaysia selamat

Kementerian Kesihatan hari ini mengesahkan sebanyak empat jenis biskut keluaran China dan 27 biskut keluaran tempatan di pasaran adalah selamat untuk dimakan selepas analisis menunjukkan ia mengandungi tahap melamin yang dibenarkan.

Unit Perhubungan Awam kementerian dalam satu kenyataan berkata, biskut keluaran tempatan yang selamat dimakan meliputi empat jenis jenama iaitu jenama Khong Guan, Khian Guan, Julie’s dan Munchy’s. Biskut jenis Khong Guan meliputi Biskut Wafer Berkrim, Biskut Creamy Chocolate, Biskut Cream Crackers dan Biskut Marie Kecil.

Biskut keluaran Khian Guan pula meliputi Biskut Marie Koko, Biskut Chocolate ABC, Biskut Rusk dan Biskut Lemon Krim,” kata kenyataan itu.

Biskut jenama Julie’s yang selamat dimakan meliputi Biskut Superior Cracker, Biskut Stereo Sandwich chocolate, Biskut Marie Besar, Biskut Sandwich Creamy Cheese, Biskut Butter Cracker, Biskut Cottage Crackers, Biskut Sandwich Perisa Limau, Biskut Finger Lemon, Biskut Peanut Butter Sandwich, Biskut Banana Flavoured Cream Sandwich dan Biskut Chocolate Shorties. Biskut jenama Munchy’s yang selamat dimakan meliputi Biskut Sugar Crackers, Biskut Kraker Kalsium Sayuran, Biskut Marie, Biskut Choc-O-Chocolate, Biskut Mini Crackers With Peanut Butter, Biskut Shortea Milk Cookies, Biskut Lexus Cheese Cream dan Biskut Lexus Peanut Butter

Selain itu, empat produk biskut keluaran China juga didapati mematuhi tahap melamin yang dibenarkan iaitu Biskut Wheat Bran Lover Chcolate Sandwich keluaran Silang, Sandwich Biscuits (Golden Fuji), Golden Grape Cookies (Golden Fuji) dan Soybean with Fruit and Veggie (Polleney).

Kenyataan itu turut menasihatkan pengguna untuk sentiasa membaca label makanan sebelum membeli sesuatu produk makanan di pasaran.

“Kementerian juga ingin menasihati pengguna-pengguna untuk tidak membeli biskut-biskut yang dijual di pasar malam, pasar tani dan sebagainya yang tidak mempunyai label dan sentiasa membaca label makanan sebelum membeli sesuatu produk,” katanya.

Untuk keterangan lanjut, pengguna dinasihatkan menghubungi Bahagian Keselamatan dan Kualiti Makanan (BKKM) melalui empat talian iaitu 03-88833655/503/652/500.

Talian dibuka jam 8 pagi hingga 9 malam termasuk cuti umum.

- Bernama

Pekerja asing bawa pulang RM9 bilion

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak berkata, para pekerja asing yang berada di Malaysia telah menghantar pulang wang sebanyak RM9.124 bilion ke negara asal mereka sejak Januari hingga akhir Jun lalu.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri berkata, kerajaan menganggarkan sejumlah RM18.1 bilion akan dikirim oleh para pekerja asing ke negara masing-masing sepanjang tahun ini.

“Sehingga 31 Julai 2008, jumlah pekerja asing adalah seramai 2.1 juta orang dan secara puratanya setiap pekerja asing telah menghantar pulang sebanyak RM720 sebulan.

“Kedudukan rizab negara yang kukuh bagaimanapun, dapat menampung jumlah kiriman wang ini yang hanya merupakan 4.7 peratus daripada jumlah rizab semasa,” katanya.

Beliau yang juga Menteri Kewangan berkata demikian ketika menjawab soalan Datuk Halimah Mohd. Sadique (BN-Tenggara) pada persidangan Dewan Rakyat di sini hari ini mengenai tindakan kerajaan untuk membendung masalah pengaliran wang keluar negara.

Menurut Najib, setiap kenaikan satu peratus jumlah pekerja asing di negara ini akan menyumbang kepada peningkatan pertumbuhan Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) sebanyak 0.19 peratus.

Beliau berkata, kerajaan akan sentiasa memantau aliran wang ke luar negara oleh pekerja asing melalui institusi kewangan yang menyediakan perkhidmatan pengiriman wang.

“Kerajaan juga akan melaksanakan pelbagai langkah untuk mengurangkan jumlah pekerja asing di negara ini, antaranya dengan memperkenalkan Sistem Binaan Berindustri (IBS) dalam sektor pembinaan,” ujarnya.

Beliau memberitahu, kerajaan telah menetapkan sasaran pengurangan jumlah pekerja asing seramai 400,000 orang setahun mulai tahun 2008 hingga 2010 dengan tumpuan diberikan kepada sektor perladangan dan pembuatan.

Dalam perkembangan yang sama, katanya, kerajaan tidak bercadang untuk mengenakan levi ke atas kiriman wang pekerja asing kerana sumbangan tenaga oleh kumpulan itu mengembangkan aktiviti ekonomi negara.

60,000 kerja kosong menanti graduan

Sebanyak 60,000 jawatan kosong tersedia untuk para graduan di negara ini yang berminat untuk menceburi kerjaya sebagai ejen pusat panggilan dengan gaji minimum RM2,000 sebulan.

Menteri Pengajian Tinggi, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin berkata, sebagai permulaan kerajaan telah menyediakan subsidi sebanyak RM6 juta bagi melatih 1,000 graduan untuk mengikuti kursus jangka pendek bagi melayakkan mereka diiktiraf sebagai ejen pusat panggilan.

“Pameran bergerak di universiti akan diadakan tidak lama lagi bagi merekrut graduan terbabit dan mereka akan diberi latihan selama 10 minggu bermula Disember ini bagi membolehkan mereka menerima Sijil Pengoperasian Pusat Panggilan,” katanya kepada pemberita selepas melancarkan Program Latihan Pusat Perhubungan Untuk Graduan My Career, My Future yang dianjurkan kementerian itu dengan kerjasama syarikat My-Partners Sdn. Bhd. di sini hari ini.

Ejen pusat panggilan tempatan bertanggungjawab melayan pertanyaan melalui telefon yang dikemukakan oleh pelanggan syarikat-syarikat di luar negara yang telah membuat penyumberan luar di negara ini sebagai langkah menjimatkan kos.

22.10.2008 : Rizab BNM RM371 bilion

Rizab antarabangsa Bank Negara Malaysia dicatatkan AS$107.6 bilion (RM371.8 bilion) sehingga 15 Oktober, kata bank pusat itu hari ini.

Rizab itu mencukupi untuk membiayai 8.7 bulan import tertangguh dan merupakan empat kali hutang luar jangka pendek, katanya dalam satu kenyataan hari ini.

- Bernama

Harga minyak di bawah AS$70 setong

Harga minyak mentah didagangkan lemah di Asia hari ini ekoran kebimbangan baru terhadap permintaan tenaga akibat kelembapan pertumbuhan global, kata pelabur.

Kontrak utama New York, minyak berkualiti tinggi Light Sweet untuk penghantaran Disember jatuh AS$2.72 (RM9.62) kepada AS$69.46 (RM245.88) setong daripada harga penutup di Amerika Syarikat AS$72.18 (RM255.51) semalam.

Minyak Brent North Sea untuk penghantaran Disember turun AS$2.42 (RM8.56) kepada AS$67.30 (RM238.24) setong, semalam dan ia didagangkan lemah AS$2.31 (RM8.17) kepada AS$69.72 (RM246.80) setong.

Harga pasaran minyak mentah terus jatuh pada sesi dagangan baru-baru ini akibat peningkatan tanda-tanda bahawa Pertubuhan Negara-negara Pengeluar Petroleum (OPEC) bakal mengumumkan pelan untuk mengurangkan pengeluaran ketika perjumpaan khas yang diaturkan di Vienna pada Jumaat ini.

Namun kebimbangan terhadap kelemahan penggunaan tenaga ketika negara maju berhadapan dengan kelembapan ekonomi yang menyebabkan pelabur panik, kata peniaga.

''Kebimbangan terhadap permintaan minyak mentah telah melemahkan harga pasaran, walaupun perjumpaan OPEC pada 24 Oktober ini dijangka akan mengurangkan sasaran pengeluaran,'' kata David Moore, Ahli Strategi Komoditi di Bank Commonwealth Australia.

Mesyuarat OPEC akan datang, bakal menyaksikan ahli utama pertubuhan itu menyuarakan sokongan mereka terhadap pengurangan keluaran minyak bagi mengekang kejatuhan harga.

Semalam, Menteri Minyak Iran berkata, Tehran percaya OPEC perlu mengurangkan pengeluaran antara dua juta hingga 2.5 juta tong sehari, langkah itu akan membantu harga minyak meningkat melebihi AS$150 (RM531) setong.

''Pasaran perlu mencari keadaan stabil, dengan kejatuhan lapan hingga 10 peratus daripada permintaan serta bekalan minyak jatuh antara dua hingga 2.5 juta sehari akan membawa kestabilan kepada pasaran,'' kata Gholam Hossein Nozari pada sidang akhbar di Tehran.

Iran merupakan pengeksport kedua terbesar dalam OPEC dan ekonominya sangat bergantung kepada pendapatan minyak dan gas.



Malaysians in recession-hit Singapore face retrenchment

Tens of thousands of Malaysian workers from the services and manufacturing sectors in Singapore will be retrenched when employers, hit by the recession, start downsizing in the island republic.

Though the recession has not translated to retrenchment, Malay-sian workers in Singapore are starting to feel jittery over the prospect of losing their jobs if the country’s economy takes a turn for the worse.

At the same time, Johor is taking early steps, including playing job matchmaker, to ensure those retren-ched can quickly be matched with jobs available locally.

For many Malaysians working in Singapore, the main concern is how to continue supporting their families if they are retrenched. Some said they were willing to take a pay cut and return to Malaysia. Others were even prepared take up two jobs back home to supplement their income.

Single mother Karen Lee is worried she may not be able to support her only daughter through college if she loses her job.

“My daughter is taking her SPM this year and plans to further her studies in Taiwan,” said the factory operator, adding that she was willing to take up a job in Malaysia at a lower salary if she were retrenched.

Lee, who earns S$1,500 (RM3,600) a month, stays in a rented room in Woodlands, Singapore while her daughter lives with her mother in Johor Baru.

Technician N. Soomu, 34, who was retrenched in 2002, said the experience was a nightmare.

This time around, he is taking steps to safeguard his job including taking up a technical course.

Soomu has been working in Singapore for the past 10 years and earns about S$1,200. He travels daily to Singapore from Johor Baru as it is cheaper to live in Johor.

Johor Unity, Human Resource, Science, Technology and Innovation committee chairman M.
Asojan said there were many job opportunities within Iskandar Malaysia.

“We need 4,000 people for the oil and gas sector alone,” he said.

Johor Labour Department deputy director Ruzita Bahari advised locals to visit its website at or contact the department at 07-2275080 for job opportunities.

According to Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, some 300,000 Malaysians are working in Singapore.

Dr M: Reduce wealth gap to narrow race gap

All races living in this country will refer to themselves as Malaysians once the economic gap between them is reduced, says former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“Although we have not achieved full unity, I believe that once the wealth gap is not so great, then the race gap will not be so great either,” he added, addressing a forum entitled Unity Towards 2020 last night.

He said that all the races were responsible for ensuring the success of the country, adding that it had been difficult to get all the races to really get together be­­cause of Malaysia’s demographic profile.

Asked to comment on the issue of the social contract, he said it should never be rescinded.

“The Federal Constitution was based on that contract and more than that, its spirit is such that it ensures each race sacrifices something to gain something else, ” Dr Mahathir said.

“If we destroy it, then there will be no more Malay reserve land, the Chinese will lose their mother tongue in schools and citizenships may be revoked,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said that the balance must be protected and that it was only an issue now as there were politicians who wanted to gain popularity.

'Suruhanjaya Media perlu diwujudkan'

Satu Suruhanjaya Media perlu ditubuhkan bagi menjaga dan memantau kepentingan, kewibawaan serta integriti semua institusi media di negara ini pada masa depan.

Pensyarah di Sekolah Kajian Media dan Komunikasi, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Prof Dr Safar Hasim, yang mencadangkan perkara itu berkata, suruhanjaya itu juga perlu diletakkan di bawah Jabatan Perdana Menteri dalam 10 tahun pertama penubuhannya.

"Suruhanjaya ini adalah badan bebas di bawah Parlimen seperti Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia (Suhakam) antara lain bertanggungjawab menguatkuasakan etika dipersetujui kerajaan, pengamal media dan orang ramai.

"Suruhanjaya ini perlu diwujudkan bagi memantau media selepas pelbagai undang-undang media dimansuhkan dan dipinda. Suruhanjaya ini juga perlu terbuka dan menggalakkan lebih banyak surat khabar di negara ini. Media yang terbuka, mencambahkan lagi demokrasi di negara ini," katanya antara ahli panel dalam Kolokium Dasar Media di Malaysia, anjuran Institut Pembangunan Komunikasi Asia (Aidcom) yang berlangsung di sini, semalam.

Safar juga memuji keterbukaan diberikan kepada media di bawah pentadbiran Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi berbanding ketika pentadbiran sebelum ini.


Shahrir akan umum penurunan harga barang Jumaat ini

Menteri Perdagangan Dalam Negeri dan Hal Ehwal Pengguna, Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad akan mengumumkan penurunan beberapa harga barang keperluan pengguna yang bukan di bawah kawalan kerajaan Jumaat ini.

Katanya, penurunan itu melibatkan harga beberapa barangan keluaran sebuah syarikat pengeluar dan pengilang tersebut yang mempunyai pasaran dunia yang agak besar.

``Hari Jumaat ini akan saya umumkan bagi pihak syarikat pengilang tersebut. Ini adalah satu permulaan,'' katanya ketika ditemui di lobi Parlimen di sini hari ini.

Tiada wabak HFMD di Sarawak

Timbalan Ketua Menteri Sarawak, Tan Sri Dr. George Chan Hong Nam berkata, tidak ada wabak penyakit tangan, kaki dan mulut (HFMD) berlaku di negeri ini meskipun berlaku peningkatan kes jangkitan enterovirus 71 (EV71).

Katanya, beliau percaya berlaku peningkatan kes bagi jangkitan EV71 di negeri ini yang tidak dapat dikenal pasti kesahihannya.

Bagaimanapun katanya, kementerian tidak mampu untuk memeriksa setiap kes yang dilaporkan.

Zaki ketua hakim negara baru

Presiden Mahkamah Rayuan, Tan Sri Zaki Tun Azmi, 63, dilantik sebagai Ketua Hakim Negara yang baru berkuat kuasa 18 Oktober lalu menggantikan Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad, 66, yang bersara wajib.

Hakim Besar Malaya, Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd. Sheriff pula dilantik menggantikan Zaki.
Demikian menurut kenyataan yang dikeluarkan Pejabat Perdana Menteri hari ini.

Sektor eksport Malaysia tahun ini kekal positif - MATRADE

Perbadanan Pembangunan Perdagangan Luar Malaysia (MATRADE) berkata, pertumbuhan ekonomi Malaysia melalui perdagangan eksport ke negara luar tahun ini masih positif meskipun dibelenggu kejatuhan pasaran dunia ekoran perkembangan terkini dalam ekonomi Amerika Syarikat (AS) dan pasaran kewangan antarabangsa.

Timbalan Ketua Eksekutif Pembangunan Matrade, Mohamad Kamarudin Hassan berkata, masalah kegawatan yang timbul masih mampu diatasi, bahkan nilai dagangan eksport juga meningkat tahun ini.

“Lapan bulan pertama tahun ini menyaksikan nilai dagangan eksport yang diperoleh melebihi RM800 bilion berbanding pada tempoh yang sama tahun lepas sebanyak RM500 bilion.

“Peningkatan sebanyak 16.1 peratus menunjukkan kegawatan yang berlaku dalam ekonomi AS tidak terlalu menjejaskan hasil dagangan eksport Malaysia,” katanya kepada pemberita selepas Sesi Taklimat Dan Konsultasi Bersama Pengeksport di sini hari ini.


Langkah tangani krisis

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yakin Malaysia tidak akan terjerumus dalam kemelesetan ekonomi pada tahun depan serta dapat menampan krisis ekonomi global yang mula melanda Amerika Syarikat dan negara-negara Eropah.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri berkata, ekonomi Malaysia mempunyai tiga kekuatan yang membolehkannya mengelak kegawatan iaitu dasar yang kukuh, berdaya tahan dan aktiviti ekonominya bersifat menyeluruh.

Pada sidang akhbar berasingan di Putrajaya dan Kuala Lumpur hari ini, Najib yang juga Menteri Kewangan mengumumkan langkah-langkah baru merangsang ekonomi, antaranya:

* Kerajaan akan menyediakan dana tambahan RM5 bilion bagi menggandakan saiz Valuecap Sdn. Bhd. kepada RM10 bilion. Valuecap ialah syarikat pengurusan dana milik kerajaan yang ditubuhkan untuk melabur dalam ekuiti-ekuiti strategik tempatan.

* Perbelanjaan projek-projek kerajaan pada tahun depan tidak akan dipotong walaupun sesetengah projek utama akan disemak semula.

* Menilai kembali anggaran pertumbuhan Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) bagi tahun ini yang sebelum ini dianggarkan sebanyak 5.4 peratus. Perincian kadar baru KDNK akan diumumkan dalam penggulungan Bajet 2009 pada 4 November ini.

1 setiap 5 pekerja warga asing

Satu simposium diberitahu hari ini bahawa hampir 20 peratus tenaga kerja di Malaysia terdiri daripada warga asing dan ini bermakna nisbah pekerja di negara ini ialah seorang warga asing bagi setiap empat pekerja tempatan.

Simposium berkenaan juga dimaklumkan bahawa hampir separuh daripada lebih 252,600 pekerjaan yang diwujudkan di negara ini setiap tahun diisi oleh pekerja asing.

Ketua Setiausaha Kementerian Sumber Manusia, Datuk Thomas George berkata, dasar yang semakin liberal terhadap pengambilan pekerja asing di Malaysia wujud berikutan pertumbuhan pesat ekonomi, yang sebahagian besarnya dipacu oleh industrialisasi di negara ini.

Berucap merasmikan Simposium Kebangsaan mengenai Dasar Pekerja Asing di Malaysia anjuran bersama kementerian itu dan Pertubuhan Buruh Antarabangsa (ILO) di sini, beliau berkata, daripada jumlah keseluruhan 11.3 juta tenaga kerja yang ada di Malaysia, 2.2 juta adalah warga asing.

Bagaimanapun, kata George, kerajaan sentiasa mengambil langkah bagi mengurangkan kedudukan Malaysia yang terlalu bergantung terhadap pekerja asing dan bagi melindungi peluang pekerjaan untuk rakyat tempatan.

Kerajaan membuat keputusan untuk mengurangkan secara beransur-ansur kadar pergantungan terhadap pekerja asing daripada 2.2 juta sekarang kepada 1.5 juta menjelang 2015.

Mengikut sektor, sebahagian besar pekerja asing diambil bekerja dalam sektor pembuatan iaitu sebanyak 36 peratus, diikuti perladangan (24.6 peratus), pembantu rumah (15.7 peratus), pembinaan (14.2 peratus) dan selebihnya dalam sektor lain.

George berkata, sejak satu atau dua tahun lepas, kementerian itu telah mengadakan perbincangan dengan majikan, kesatuan sekerja serta badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) dan bersetuju bahawa wujud keperluan untuk mengurangkan pergantungan negara terhadap pekerja asing, menambah baik pengurusan pekerja asing, dan mengadakan prosedur lebih jelas dan ketat berkaitan kemasukan mereka ke negara ini.

Katanya, langkah juga sedang diambil bagi melindungi hak mereka, menyediakan kontrak sebelum mereka berlepas dari negara yang menghantar mereka ke Malaysia dan mengenakan tanggungjawab terhadap pihak ketiga yang terlibat dengan penghantaran tenaga buruh asing ke negara ini, jika berlaku sebarang kes pelanggaran kontrak.

George berkata, Malaysia mengaku ia memerlukan pekerja asing, sekurang-kurangnya untuk masa sekarang, dan perlu memberi tumpuan terhadap beberapa bidang utama bagi menentukan permintaan sebenar mengikut sektor.

Katanya, Malaysia juga perlu mengkaji kesan daripada kehadiran pekerja asing terhadap persekitaran tenaga kerja di negara ini, termasuk isu upah, keadaan bekerja, kesihatan, syarat pampasan dan pekerjaan, serta mengetatkan proses pengambilan dan pengurusan pekerja asing.

Sementara itu, seorang pegawai kanan kementerian berkenaan, Azizah Ariffin berkata, warga asing mengambil kira-kira 45 peratus peluang pekerjaan baru yang diwujudkan setiap tahun di negara ini.

Ketika membentangkan kertas kerja mengenai penilaian keperluan terhadap pekerja asing serta kesannya terhadap ekonomi Malaysia pada simposium itu, Azizah berkata, penggunaan pekerja asing secara berlebihan mengakibatkan timbulnya pelbagai masalah, termasuk penurunan purata produktiviti, penyisihan pekerja tempatan, kewujudan kadar upah yang rendah serta menjejaskan kelemahan imbangan pembayaran dan mencetuskan isu sosial dan keselamatan.

Katanya, walaupun pada 2006 pekerja asing menyumbang 11.1 peratus kepada Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) Malaysia, tetapi pada tahun lepas, wang yang mereka hantar pulang ke negara asal masing-masing berjumlah kira-kira RM3.43 bilion.

“Oleh kerana jumlah pekerja asing yang begitu besar, kadar upah, terutama bagi pekerja tidak mahir di Malaysia, akan terus rendah, manakala majikan pula akan terus memberi keutamaan kepada warga asing kerana upah mereka secara relatifnya, lebih rendah,” ujar Azizah.

Bagaimanapun, kerajaan sedang giat berusaha bagi mengurangkan pergantungan negara ini terhadap tenaga kerja asing dalam pelbagai sektor.

Bagi sektor pembuatan, ia akan menggubal dasar dan strategi baru bagi menarik lebih banyak wanita menyertai pasaran tenaga kerja, melaksanakan satu program mekanisasi yang berkesan dan mengenal pasti kemahiran yang diperlukan oleh industri, melaksanakan program latihan serta membantu perusahaan kecil dan sederhana (SME) dalam penggunaan mekanisasi bagi mengurangkan keperluan mereka mengambil pekerja asing.

Bagi sektor perkhidmatan, kerajaan akan menguatkuasakan kaedah layan diri, terutama di restoran dan stesen minyak. Ia juga akan menyediakan persekitaran bekerja yang lebih menarik dan kondusif bagi pekerja tempatan dan memberi insentif pengecualian cukai bagi menggalakkan penggunaan kaedah automasi.

Bagi sektor perladangan, kerajaan akan menarik penyertaan tenaga kerja dari luar bandar melalui penyediaan prasarana asas, perkhidmatan kesihatan, sekolah, rumah harga patut dan pusat penjagaan harian yang lebih baik.

Bagi industri pembinaan, kerajaan akan menggalakkan pelaksanaan Sistem Pembinaan Industri (IBS) dan mengeluarkan permit import bagi mengimport kren.

– Bernama

Rais on money politics: Might as well let highest bidder win

Umno must admit it has a problem with money politics and if left to fester, the party might as well hand posts to the highest bidder, said supreme council member Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

If the scourge of money politics should take further hold in the party , “it would be just better for Umno to have a tender system so that anyone who contributes the highest amount can be a leader,” he said.

He suggested the Barisan Nasional dominant component party look towards coalition partners MCA and Gerakan for ideas on how to stem money politics during party elections.

Dr Rais, who has announced his candidacy for a vice-president’s post, said both parties did not have such restrictions as requiring a certain number of nominations to contest for various posts.

“These parties don’t have as many restrictions as we do, but they are comparatively free of money politics,” he told reporters after meeting with diplomats from the Americas and Caribbean regions at the Marriott Hotel here on Tuesday.

One suggestion, Rais added, was reducing the number of nominations necessary to contest certain positions, now at 58 for the presidency and 39 for his deputy.

“Instead, anyone who gets between 10 to 15 nominations can contest. If we do away with the nominations altogether, there may be thousands of candidates,” he said.

Rais, who has so far obtained only six nominations, also lamented that the party was now “in the clutches of corporate personnel and businessmen,” judging from its culture of money politics.

On whether he would lodge a police report on his allegations of money politics, Rais said he could not as he did not have enough evidence of such wrongdoing.

Pilih pemimpin berkebolehan: Muhyiddin

Naib Presiden Umno, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin mahu konsep meritokrasi politik diamalkan untuk memilih pemimpin berkebolehan dan menolak mereka yang mengamalkan politik wang pada pemilihan parti itu, Mac depan.

Beliau berkata hanya pemimpin tulen akan sentiasa berada di barisan hadapan dalam menggerakkan agenda parti khususnya menghadapi musuh Umno dan bukannya ’bersembunyi’ di belakang ahli.

Menteri Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri itu berkata perkara itu penting memandangkan Umno sebagai sebuah parti politik juga sudah menolak amalan politik wang.

Need to explain social contract to the young

There is a need to explain the history and rationale behind the country’s social contract but it must be done in a proper manner.

Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the younger generation had not been equipped with knowledge on the agreement and was therefore susceptible to questioning it.

“Many younger Malaysians are not in the know about what the social contract is all about and yet, we say they have to respect this very important component in our constitution,” he said Tuesday after giving a talk in Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Muhyiddin said the recent statement issued by the Conference of Rulers was a testament to the importance of protecting crucial elements in the social contract including the special status of bumiputras, protection of other races, Islam as the country’s official religion and position of the Rulers.

“I think there is a reason why the Rulers expressed themselves on these matters. Maybe there is a need to explain (the social contract) but it should not be a debate but more of an explanation on what the content is and its relation to history on how the agreement was drafted and accepted.

Muhyiddin also proposed that the history of the social contract be embedded in the university curriculum.
“It could be done academically within a proper environment as part of their (the students’) study. That would be a good start for the younger generation to be fully equipped with the basic fundamentals of the constitution,” he said.

When asked whether there would come a time when the social contract could be left behind, Muhyiddin said there was no timeline as it had already been enshrined in the country’s constitution.

“There is no start or end; it is done and is part of our constitution. It has not outlived its time because that is what had been agreed upon.

“There is no timeline for the social contract because it has already been enshrined (in the constitution). It is not a separate contract, but is in the constitution and has been adopted and accepted by all,” he said.

On concerns of an emerging trend of money politics in the Umno party elections, Muhyiddin said he had received reports about incidents but obtaining evidence was a challenge.

“We have already asked that the (Umno) disciplinary board be more aggressive in managing this issue and we also request members come forward to report (any incidents).

“If we choose a leader just because he gives you more money, then we are going to put in leaders who are not accepted by Umno and the rest of the country and that will be very bad for us.

“I hope delegates will evaluate the candidates on the basis of meritocracy because what we decide in the Umno Supreme Council has got a bearing on the nation as well,” he said.

Muhyiddin is currently the front runner for the deputy president post ahead of the party elections next March.

On former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad making statements on the party, Muhyiddin said an open attitude needed to be adopted.

“Freedom of expression is part and parcel of the democracy that we practice. Of course sometimes it is not nice, but nothing is nice nowadays. And there are a lot grassroots members who talk a lot about what the Government is. Some you can hear, but many don’t.

“I do not think we can stop people from saying what they want to express, including Tun,” he said.


Economy : Country not in financial crisis

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (left) shakes hands as he hands over his finance minister's post to Deputy PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Putrajaya on Monday. Najib announced plans Monday to prop up the stock market and lure more foreign investment.
Malaysia is not in financial crisis and “we should not talk ourselves into one,” said Finance Minister Datuk Najib Tun Razak.

However, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for 2009 would be reviewed downwards from the projected 5.4% in the view of the worsening global financial crisis, Najib said on Monday.

"While we are confident of the resilience of our financial sector, we are mindful that the financial turmoil in markets elsewhere will bear consequences on the real economies there as well as globally.

“As a result, the Malaysian real economy will inevitable be negatively impacted,” he said during his keynote address at the Khazanah Megatrends Forum on Monday.
The Government would also inject RM5bil to double the size of ValueCap Sdn Bhd set up in 2003 to invest in undervalued companies.

Foreign Investment Committee (FIC) guidelines would also be reviewed to attract more foreign investors especially in property and commercial sectors, said Najib, giving a preview of the measures to be put in place to cushion the Malaysia from the impact of external developments.

The details of a financial stabilisation plan would be presented during the winding up speech in Parliament on Nov 4 as the global markets were still volatile and the Government and Bank Negara needed time to study the developments carefully before finalising the plan, he said.

Other measures include Bank Negara’s announcement to guarantee all deposits up to December 2010 and the strengthening of Small and Medium Enterprises and related financial institutions.

“Part of the government policy response to manage the global and financial crisis is to ensure that our global competitiveness in attracting foreign and domestic investment is in-tact.”

He said the liberalisation of the service sector, which was the main GDP contributor, would be detailed and based on a proposal by the International Trade and Industry Ministry to be proposed soon in Cabinet. Najib expressed confidence that domestic consumption would remain robust but added that short-term measures to tackle external financial turmoil, should not come at the expense the country’s long-term development imperatives and competitiveness.

“We are mindful that we have to take steps to ensure long term competitiveness whilst managing short term crisis, but we must not forget our long term position as a nation that is able to compete much more effectively,” he told reporters.


Timbalan Presiden MCA: Soi Lek buat kejutan

Ong Tee Keat (kiri) dan Chua Soi Lek meraikan kemenangan masing-masing selepas pengumuman keputusan pemilihan jawatan tertinggi MCA di Wisma MCA, Kuala Lumpur

18 Okt. – Datuk Ong Tee Keat menepati ramalan apabila dipilih sebagai Presiden MCA yang baru menewaskan Datuk Chua Jui Meng pada pemilihan parti itu hari ini dengan majoriti 512 undi.

Tee Keat yang juga Naib Presiden MCA memperoleh 1,429 undi manakala Jui Meng mendapat 917 undi dengan 22 undi rosak.

Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek pula mencipta kejutan apabila beliau yang terpaksa melepaskan jawatan dalam parti dan kerajaan ekoran skandal video seks berjaya menewaskan tiga calon lain untuk memenangi jawatan Timbalan Presiden MCA.

Bekas Naib Presiden MCA itu memperoleh 1,115 undi untuk mengatasi Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan (1,001 undi), Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai (209) dan Lee Hack Teik (10 undi).

Kedua-dua jawatan Presiden dan Timbalan Presiden MCA ditandingi selepas penyandangnya, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting dan Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy membuat keputusan tidak mempertahankannya pada pemilihan kali ini.

Bagi jawatan Naib Presiden, bekas Ketua Wanita MCA, Datuk Dr. Ng Yen Yen mencatat sejarah apabila berjaya menduduki satu daripada empat kerusi tersebut bersama Datuk Kong Cho Ha, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai dan Tan Kok Hong.

Mereka menewaskan empat lagi calon iaitu penyandang jawatan Datuk Dr. Fong Chan Onn, Lim Teck Chong, Datuk Chor Chee Heung dan Datuk Yap Pian Hon.

Proses pemilihan parti yang diadakan di Wisma MCA di sini berjalan lancar selepas ia dirasmikan oleh Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Seramai 2,378 perwakilan dari seluruh negara menghadiri Perhimpunan Agung Tahunan MCA Ke-55 itu.

Sementara itu, Presiden MCA yang baru, berjanji akan meneruskan reformasi parti seperti yang telah dijanjikan dan meminta ahli parti menghormati keputusan yang telah dibuat oleh para perwakilan pada pemilihan hari ini.

Menurutnya, beliau amat berterima kasih kepada para perwakilan yang telah memberi mandat kepadanya untuk memimpin parti.

‘‘Saya akan bekerjasama dengan Timbalan Presiden, Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek untuk memimpin parti pada masa depan.

‘‘Sebenarnya tiada perbalahan antara saya dengan Soi Lek, cuma pandangan kami mungkin berbeza dalam sesetengah perkara sahaja,” katanya kepada pemberita selepas majlis pengumuman keputusan pemilihan parti di Wisma MCA di sini malam ini.

Soi Lek pula yang membuat kejutan apabila memenangi jawatan Timbalan Presiden berkata, beliau sangat berpuas hati dengan keputusan pemilihan kali ini dan menghargai sokongan dan galakan yang telah diberikan oleh para perwakilan.

‘‘Saya akan bekerjasama dengan Tee Keat dan ahli jawatan kuasa pusat yang baru dilantik untuk memperbaharui imej parti .

‘‘Kita mahu mengukuhkan parti untuk mengembalikan keyakinan masyarakat Cina terhadap MCA,” katanya.


Caj baru PTPTN Disember

Pelajar IPT daftar hujung tahun layak nikmati kadar 1 peratus

Pelajar institusi pengajian tinggi (IPT) yang baru mendaftar pada pengambilan Disember ini adalah golongan peminjam pertama yang akan menikmati kadar baru caj perkhidmatan satu peratus bagi pinjaman Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional (PTPTN).

Pengerusi PTPTN, Datuk Dr Mohamad Shahrum Osman, berkata bagi peminjam terdahulu pula, beberapa perkara perlu diselaraskan untuk membolehkan mereka menikmati kadar satu peratus.

"Dakwaan sesetengah pihak dan peminjam bahawa mereka dikecualikan daripada mendapat caj perkhidmatan baru itu sekiranya tidak membuat bayaran atau bayaran tidak konsisten adalah tidak benar.

"Kita sudah mencari mekanisme yang sesuai untuk membolehkan semua peminjam mendapat kadar baru itu dan perincian mengenai penyelarasan itu akan diumumkan oleh Menteri Pengajian Tinggi, Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin," katanya pada sidang akhbar di sini, semalam. Ogos lalu, kerajaan mengumumkan penurunan caj perkhidmatan PTPTN kepada satu peratus berbanding tiga peratus bagi pelajar diploma dan ijazah sarjana muda serta lima peratus untuk pelajar ijazah sarjana dan doktor falsafah (PhD) sebelum itu.

Sebelum ini, akhbar ini melaporkan peminjam PTPTN yang gagal menyelesaikan pinjaman mereka mengikut jadual sehingga 31 Mei lalu, tidak akan menikmati pengurangan caj perkhidmatan satu peratus.

Sebaliknya, mereka akan dikenakan caj pinjaman pada kadar lama iaitu tiga peratus atau lima peratus. Mohamad Shahrum berkata, sehingga kini, kadar pinjaman tertunggak direkodkan RM1.9 bilion membabitkan 563,494 peminjam.

"Sebanyak 72 peratus peminjam sudah membayar pinjaman mereka mengikut pelan yang disediakan dan ada juga yang tidak konsisten membuat bayaran. Daripada jumlah itu, RM913.56 juta berjaya dikutip sejak PTPTN mula diperkenalkan pada tahun 1997.

"Masih ada baki 28 peratus peminjam yang tidak pernah membuat bayaran dan diharap dengan kadar baru ini, mereka akan mula membayar pinjaman berkenaan," katanya.

Ditanya apakah bentuk tindakan yang akan dikenakan kepada peminjam tegar, Mohamad Shahrum berkata, ia bergantung kepada setiap kes kerana PTPTN tidak mahu mengenakan hukuman keras kepada peminjam yang benar-benar tidak berkemampuan untuk membuat bayaran balik.

"Tindakan perlu mengambil kira kemampuan bagi mengelak penganiayaan tidak mampu berbanding golongan berada," katanya.

Pelan penstabilan ekonomi diumum Isnin

Datuk Seri Najib Razak berkata, kerajaan akan mengumumkan pelan penstabilan ekonomi yang akan menyediakan peruntukan tambahan dan langkah fiskal mengukuhkan ekonomi negara Isnin ini.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri berkata, keutamaan negara adalah untuk mengekalkan pelabur, meyakinkan pengguna, menyediakan peluang pekerjaan dan mencipta keadaan bagi meneruskan pertumbuhan.

“Kita mengetahui krisis ekonomi global akan berpanjangan dan mendalam.

Oleh demikian, Malaysia juga bersedia untuk menempuh keadaan yang sukar.

“Bajet yang diumumkan kerajaan baru-baru ini memfokuskan kepada beberapa perkara yang mengutamakan rakyat dengan memberi tumpuan kepada kumpulan berpendapatan rendah, warga emas, orang kurang upaya dan ibu bapa tunggal,” katanya.

Najib berkata demikian pada majlis makan malam anjuran Persatuan Felo Eisenhower Malaysia (EFAM) di Menara Kuala Lumpur di sini malam tadi. Turut hadir Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Presiden EFAM, Tan Sri Mohd Ramli Kushairi dan Pengerusi Institut Kajian Strategik dan Antarabangsa (ISIS), Tan Sri Mohamed Jawhar Hassan.

Sementara itu, Najib berkata parti pembangkang perlu turut bekerjasama dengan kerajaan dalam menghadapi krisis kewangan global.

Katanya, kerjasama itu mungkin akan membawa kepada satu hasil positif kepada krisis ekonomi global dan keadaan ekonomi yang sedang bergolak ketika ini.


Hindraf declared illegal

The Hindu Rights Actions Force (Hindraf) has been declared an illegal organisation from today, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

In a statement issued here, Syed Hamid said the decision to declare Hindraf as an illegal organisation was made following the ministry being satisfied with facts and evidence that showed Hindraf had and was being used for unlawful purposes and posed a threat to public order and morality.
“Based on powers vested under Section 5(1) of the Societies Act, Hindraf from today is declared an illegal organisation,” he said.

He said the order was being made as a result of monitoring and investigation on the organisation’s activities by the Registrar of Societies (ROs) and Home Ministry, since Hindraf’s inception.

Syed Hamid said if left unchecked, Hindraf would continue to pose a threat to public order, the security and sovereignty of the country as well as the prevailing racial harmony.

“The decision to declare Hindraf an illegal organisation is not based on one or two of its activities that are in contravention of the law but covers all the actions it has taken since being formed,” he said.

Syed Hamid said Hindraf had all the criteria of an organised movement because it had filed for registration with the ROS on Oct 16 last year.

The application had yet to be approved but Hindraf had actively exploited the Indian community to organise illegal assemblies and street demonstrations without permits to the point of causing a segment of the community to rise up against the Government and also hatred among the Malays and Indians in the country, he said.

“Hindraf has also tried to secure support from foreign countries for the purpose of pressuring the Government to bow to its demands,” he added.

Syed Hamid advised the public to distance themselves from Hindraf and not participate in any way in any of its activities.

- Bernama

Harga minyak mentah turun AS$72 setong hari ini

Harga minyak mentah dunia hari ini menjunam di bawah AS$72 setong hari ini, terendah sejak 13 bulan lalu.

Penganalisis berkata, penurunan itu ada kaitannya dengan kebimbangan dengan kemelesetan ekonomi global yang membawa kepada penurunan permintaan bahan api dan tenaga.


Minyak turun lagi

MASIH ramai pengguna yang tidak menyedari bahawa petrol RON97 dan RON92 yang dibeli mereka sebenarnya menerima subsidi kerajaan kira-kira 30 sen masing-masing selain diesel yang turut diberi subsidi. Pada masa ini, pengguna membayar RM2.45 seliter untuk petrol RON97 dan RM2.30 seliter untuk RON92 manakala diesel RM2.40 seliter. Sebagai contoh, bagi setiap 8 liter petrol RON97 yang dibeli pada harga RM19.60, mereka sebenarnya hanya membayar untuk 7 liter kerana bakinya disubsidi oleh kerajaan. Atas dasar kebertanggungjawab, kerajaan sudah dua kali menurunkan harga petrol dengan pelarasan terbaru pada 24 Sept lepas setelah harga pasaran minyak dunia berkurangan kepada RM109 setong. Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi berkata kerajaan tidak menolak kemungkinan untuk menurunkan lagi harga petrol jika harga pasaran bahan itu terus menyusut. Kelihatan seorang pengguna melihat jumlah yang perlu dibayarnya bagi 8 liter petrol RON97. Penurunan kali ketiga 10 hingga 20 sen seliter

Kerajaan semalam mengumumkan penurunan kali ketiga harga runcit petrol dan diesel antara 10 sen hingga 20 sen seliter, berkuat kuasa hari ini.

Harga petrol RON97 dikurangkan 15 sen seliter daripada RM2.45 kepada RM2.30, petrol RON92 turun 10 sen seliter daripada RM2.30 kepada RM2.20, manakala diesel sebanyak 20 sen seliter daripada RM2.40 kepada RM2.20.

Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dalam kenyataan media di sini, berkata kerajaan membuat keputusan menyegerakan penurunan harga runcit bahan api itu bagi membolehkan rakyat menikmatinya lebih awal.

"Oleh kerana harga minyak dunia sudah turun secara ketara akhir-akhir ini, kerajaan membuat keputusan untuk mempercepatkan pengurangan harga runcit bagi membolehkan orang ramai menikmatinya dengan lebih segera," katanya.

Harga minyak mentah turun daripada rekod tertinggi AS$147 dolar setong pada Julai lalu kepada AS$82 dolar sekarang.

Pada 23 Ogos lalu, harga runcit petrol RON97 diturunkan 15 sen seliter daripada RM2.70 kepada RM2.55, RON92 dikurangkan 22 sen seliter daripada RM2.62 kepada RM2.40 manakala diesel lapan sen seliter daripada RM2.58 kepada RM2.50. Pelarasan terakhir pada 25 September lalu pula membabitkan penurunan harga runcit petrol dan diesel sebanyak 10 sen seliter menjadikan petrol RON97 RM2.45 seliter, RON92 (RM2.30) dan diesel (RM2.40).

Mengikut formula penyelarasan bahan api yang ditetapkan sebelum ini, harga runcit petrol dan diesel akan ditetapkan pada setiap awal bulan berdasarkan purata bulanan harga minyak mentah dunia ditolak dengan subsidi kerajaan sebanyak 30 sen seliter.

Negri ruler Tuanku Ja’afar ordered to pay bank US$1m

The Special Court here has ordered the Yang DiPertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan, Tuanku Ja’afar Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman, to pay Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad (SCBMB) US$1mil to honour his commitment over a 1999 business deal.

SCBMB filed the suit in 2005 against Tuanku Ja’afar for allegedly failing to pay the bank US$1mil (RM3.5mil).

The suit arose after Tuanku Ja’afar, on or about Feb 12, 1999, established through SCBMB a stand-by letter of credit (SBLC) valued at US$1mil made in favour of the US-based Connecticut Bank of Commerce (CBC) for credit facilities to be extended by the latter to a US company called Texas Encore LLC (TEC).

At that time, Tuanku Ja’afar was the country’s 10th Yang diPertuan Agung.

TEC is primarily involved in the production of activated tyre rubber. It was to use the money to set up and operate a factory within the Ford Motors compound in Detroit, Michigan.

According to an earlier Bernama report, the bank was seeking a sum of US$999,772, commission fees at the rate of 0.125% per month pursuant to the SBLC facility, a declaration that the bank was entitled to set off the above amount and commission fee against the fixed deposit pursuant to the Letter of Set-Off, interest, costs and other reliefs deemed fit by the court.

The bank sued Tuanku Ja’afar after the defendant failed to undertake the express terms of the Documentary Credit Application (DCA).

In the statement of claim, the bank said the defendant in the DCA had undertaken to indemnify the plaintiff (the bank) against all losses, costs, damages, expenses and demands which it might incur or sustain by reason of the issuance or establishment of the credit.

The bank claimed that the defendant further undertook to provide funds to the bank to meet payments made by the bank in relation to the credit, including all interest, commissions, charges, disbursements and expenses, Bernama said.

The bank claimed that, pursuant to the terms of Irrevocable SBLC Facility and the DCA, the bank was entitled to be reimbursed by the defendant the sum of US$999,772.44.

Tuanku Ja’afar filed a countersuit, seeking a declaration that the bank was not entitled in law to uplift his fixed deposit to settle the sum of US$1mil.

In his statement of defence and in his suit against the bank, he claimed that after the establishment of the Irrevocable SBLC, TEC had not notified him for some months of any progress of the plant.

He said that he grew apprehensive of the lack of progress and by a letter dated April 6 1999, wrote to the bank asking for the Irrevocable SBLC to be suspended.

Tuanku Ja’afar contended that his personal representative, Datuk Hari Menon, had discussed the matter with the bank and was advised that the Irrevocable SBLC could not be revoked except with the consent of CBC as the beneficiary.

He said SCBMB had, via telex, informed the US bank of the notice of rescission, Bernama reported.

Both suits were filed in 2005 at the Putrajaya Special Court, which was set up to hear cases involving members of the royalty.

Wednesday October 15, 2008 MYT 11:19:28 AM The Star Online

Fuel price cut will have ‘little impact’

It will provide some relief but will not have much impact — that sums up the sentiments of the public on the fuel price reduction yesterday.

City folk were definitely happy but many doubt that prices of basic necessities would go down in tandem with the reduction.

Bus and lorry operators said it did not really benefit them as prices of other goods had gone up.
Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Ashfar Ali said the reduction in fuel prices would not affect bus operators.

“For us, it’s still the same. We are still paying the subsidised rate of RM1.43 per litre for diesel,” he said.

He added that bus operators had also not felt the benefit of lower fuel prices as the cost of other products were still high.

“When the fuel prices shot up early this year, the price of everything else — batteries, lubricating oil and tyres — went up. Now, even though fuel prices are down, the price of these items are not coming down,” he said.

Pan Malaysian Lorry Owners Association president Er Sui See said that while he was happy with the reduced diesel prices, lorry owners still would not be able to absorb the escalating transport charges.

“Only a quarter of the diesel we use is subsidised, so yes it’s good that diesel prices are down.
“But all the other costs that have gone up are still going up. We can’t absorb the cost,” he said.
He gave the example of tyres, which would cost 15% more from Nov 1.

Tutor Tan Chin Swee, 48, said: “The sudden jump in petrol price a few months ago resulted in a spiral effect which pushed up the price of many daily necessities. I doubt that the reduction can undo the inflationary impact that an ordinary person is now facing.”

“Recession and inflation are inherent in any economy and are things that we have to live with,’’ Tan added.

Manager Gobal Rajee, 46, said he was happy with the reduction but felt that there would be little effect.

“We hope the prices of other goods will go down as well, otherwise it really makes no difference,’’ he said.

Civil servant Karim Jaabar, 37, said it was nothing to rejoice about if the prices of goods remain the same.

Administrative executive Theresa Heng, 49, said it was better than nothing.

Najib: No need to panic, we will weather global financial crisis

The Government will announce on Monday new measures to strengthen the economy to withstand the global economic crisis, said Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Speaking to reporters in his Parliament office, Najib said that a “stabilisation plan” was being worked on.

“I want to assure the public that the Government is on top of the situation. Although it is serious, there is no need for us to panic,” he said.

Najib said the situation in Malaysia was not as bad as other countries but added that the global economic crisis would certainly impact negatively on the economy.

“As far as we are concerned, this year we should attain the expected 5% growth. We are also not facing recession this year.

Najib said the Government did not need to re-table the Budget as suggested by Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“That proposal is not an appropriate one to tackle the crisis. Some of the figures in the Budget may have changed, but it is not necessary to re-table the Budget.

“What is important is for the Government to continue spending so that it creates domestic growth and consumption.”

He added that the Government would continue to help the low-income group.

Whether the Government could still meet the 4.8% Budget deficit considering the reduction in crude oil and palm oil prices, Najib said the figures would be revised at the appropriate time.

When asked whether interest rates would be lowered, he said it was not his policy to interfere, adding that he would leave it to Bank Negara to decide.

“Depositors should also not worry about their money in the banks as there is enough liquidity in the banking system,” he said when asked whether there was a need to guarantee bank deposits.

When asked about Opposition claims that the RM2.3bil Eurocopter deal was higher than other tenders, Najib said: “I will explain in full in Parliament.”

As he was walking way, Najib continued, saying that whatever that had been said was wrong.

Malaysia cuts fuel price by 6.1 percent

Malaysia Wednesday cut petrol prices by 6.1 percent amid a fall in world oil prices.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the price of petrol would be cut by 15 sen to 2.30 ringgit (0.92 dollars) a litre while diesel prices would fall by 20 sen to 2.20 ringgit effective Wednesday.

It is the third time the government has cut fuel prices since a 41 percent hike in June on the back of soaring crude costs -- a 3.9 percent cut was introduced last month.

The massive rise in June sparked angry street protests and calls for Abdullah to quit. The prime minister later said prices would be reviewed periodically based on the cost of oil.

"Because oil prices have fallen sharply in recent times, the government has decided to cut fuel prices to allow the masses to benefit (from) lower prices," Abdullah said in a statement
June's hike saw inflation skyrocket, with the August price index reaching a 26-year high of 8.5 percent, driven by the escalating cost of food and fuel.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is mounting an aggressive challenge against Abdullah's leadership, has promised to cut fuel prices substantially if he wrests power from the ruling coalition.

Agence France-Presse - 10/14/2008 11:12 AM GMT

Malaysia financial institutions solid: central bank

Malaysia's central bank Tuesday said the country's financial institutions are solid, have "ample liquidity" and will be able to cope with the global financial turmoil.

"Several years of reforms... have significantly strengthened the banking system," the central bank said in a statement.

"The level of non-performing loans has also improved to 2.5 percent," it added.

The central bank said there was "ample liquidity in Malaysia's financial system" to facilitate the orderly functioning of economic and financing activities.

As at end-August 2008, net interbank placements with Bank Negara by the banking system amounted to 198.5 billion ringgit (79 billion dollars).

"The banking and insurance industries are therefore operating with adequate capital and liquidity buffers that have been accumulated over several years," it added.

The central bank said Malaysia's financial institutions have negligible exposure to both subprime-related securities and the affected financial institutions of other countries.

All foreign financial institutions in Malaysia are locally incorporated and have a high level of capital that is committed to support their domestic operations, it said.


36,695 mohon ikuti program pensiswazahan guru

SEJUMLAH 36,695 permohonan diterima bagi mengikuti Program Pensiswazahan Guru Sekolah Rendah yang julung kali dilaksanakan Kementerian Pelajaran menerusi Institut Pendidikan Guru (IPG), bermula 17 November ini.

Daripada jumlah itu, 3,000 akan diambil berdasarkan unjuran ditetapkan kementerian bagi mengikuti program peringkat ijazah perguruan yang akan dijalankan di 27 IPG seluruh negara itu.

Timbalan Ketua Pengarah, Sektor Pembangunan Profesionalisme Keguruan, Kementerian Pelajaran, Datin Asariah Meor Shaharuddin, berkata program dilaksanakan empat tahun itu adalah kesinambungan usaha pensiswazahan guru bagi mencapai sasaran sekurang-kurangnya 50 peratus guru sekolah rendah memiliki ijazah menjelang 2010.

Untung sembilan bulan Bank Rakyat RM805.1j

Pendapatan bersih naik 34.6 peratus kepada RM1.466b BANK Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Bhd (Bank Rakyat) mencatat keuntungan sebelum zakat dan cukai RM805.1 juta bagi tempoh sembilan bulan berakhir 30 September 2008, peningkatan 45.6 peratus berbanding RM552.8 juta dalam tempoh sama tahun lalu.
Keuntungan itu diraih daripada pendapatan kasar yang meningkat 21.1 peratus atau RM422.5 juta kepada RM2.429 bilion, manakala pendapatan bersihnya meningkat RM377.2 juta atau 34.6 peratus kepada RM1.466 bilion.
Bagi suku ketiga berakhir 30 September 2008, ia mencatat keuntungan sebelum zakat dan cukai RM289.3 juta berbanding RM191.5 juta pada suku sama tahun lalu.
Bersandarkan prestasi cemerlang itu, Bank Rakyat kini berada dalam landasan terbaik untuk mencapai keuntungan RM1 bilion tahun ini. Pengarah Urusannya, Datuk Kamaruzaman Che Mat, berkata pencapaian cemerlang itu hasil daripada pertumbuhan kukuh dari segi pembiayaan dan deposit serta penambahbaikan berterusan ke atas kualiti asetnya.
Katanya, bank merekodkan pendapatan berasaskan yuran sebanyak RM59 juta dengan sumbangan terbesar diterima daripada pendapatan wasiat, komisyen takaful dan yuran perkhidmatan mesin ATM, yang menyumbang 69.6 peratus daripada keseluruhan pendapatan berasaskan yuran dalam tempoh kajian.

Pendapatan lain meningkat RM18.1 juta (17 peratus) kepada RM124.4 juta dengan sumbangan diterima daripada perolehan semula peruntukan hutang ragu yang menyumbang 87 peratus daripada keseluruhan pendapatan lain dalam tempoh kajian.
"Jumlah aset Bank Rakyat setakat akhir September lalu meningkat RM6.9 bilion (21.5 peratus) kepada RM39.1 bilion berbanding tempoh sama tahun lalu," katanya pada sidang media selepas mengumumkan keputusan kewangan bank itu bagi sembilan bulan 2008, di Kuala Lumpur semalam.
Kamaruzaman menambah, setakat akhir September 2008, baki bersih pembiayaan konsumer bank meningkat RM5.4 bilion (25.2 peratus) kepada RM26.9 bilion. "Pembiayaan konsumer adalah fokus utama perniagaan kami yang mana ia menyumbang 95.6 peratus daripada keseluruhan pembiayaan Bank Rakyat," katanya.

Dari segi portfolio pembiayaan, sektor peribadi dan perumahan adalah penyumbang terbesar iaitu masing-masing merekodkan 73.6 peratus dan 12.8 peratus daripada keseluruhan pembiayaan konsumer. Jumlah deposit daripada pelanggan Bank Rakyat meningkat RM5.3 bilion (20.4 peratus) kepada RM31 bilion berbanding tempoh sama tahun lalu.
Nisbah kecairan kekal kukuh pada kadar 25.1 peratus dan nisbah pembiayaan atas deposit (LDR) adalah pada kadar 90.5 peratus pada akhir September 2008, berbanding 84.3 peratus dalam tempoh sama tahun lalu.
Sementara itu, mengulas mengenai isu kredit Amerika Syarikat (AS), Kamaruzaman berkata, Bank Rakyat yakin krisis itu tidak memberi kesan terhadap pembiayaan balik pinjaman oleh peminjamnya. "Kebanyakan pelanggan kami terdiri daripada kakitangan awam, koperasi serta kakitangan syarikat berkaitan kerajaan yang mempunyai asas kewangan yang kukuh.
"Kami juga hanya menggunakan dana daripada portfolio dalaman kami untuk memberi pinjaman kepada peminjam," katanya.
Bagi nisbah pembiayaan tidak berbayar bersih (NPF) dalam tempoh kajian, Kamaruzaman berkata ia berada pada kadar 1.9 peratus berbanding 2.5 peratus pada September 2007. Katanya, prestasi yang baik itu didorong oleh dasar dan amalan pembiayaan telus serta disokong oleh pengurusan kredit yang kukuh dan proses susulan kredit yang proaktif.

HFMD di Sarawak terkawal

Punca yang menyebabkan menularnya wabak penyakit tangan, kaki dan mulut (HFMD) menyerang kanak-kanak di Sarawak sejak kebelakangan ini masih 'misteri'.

Timbalan Ketua Menteri, Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam, berkata Kementerian Kesihatan sehingga kini masih belum mengetahui punca sebenar yang menyebabkan penularan wabak itu.

Beliau yang juga Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pengurusan Bencana Alam Negeri, berkata kementerian itu sedang berusaha untuk mengenal pasti kitaran wabak itu, bagi memudahkan kerajaan mengetahui puncanya.

"Bila kita sudah tahu sebab penularan wabak berkenaan, kita akan dedahkannya kepada umum. Apapun, sekarang penularan HFMD di negeri termasuk di Miri, masih terkawal. "Walaupun kita sudah tutup sebuah taman asuhan kanak-kanak (Taska) di Tudan, wabak berkenaan tidak membimbangkan," katanya kepada pemberita di sini, semalam.

Taman asuhan itu sudah ditutup sejak tiga minggu lalu, selepas tiga kanak-kanak dari Taska itu dikhuatiri dijangkiti wabak berkenaan. Beliau yang juga Menteri Pembangunan Perindustrian dan Menteri Pemodenan Pertanian, berkata kerajaan sudah meminta kementerian berkaitan melakukan kajian terperinci mengenai HFMD.

Katanya, kajian yang teliti perlu dilakukan untuk memudahkan kita mengenal pasti punca wabak, sekali gus mengawal penularan pada masa akan datang.

Dr Chan berkata, antara langkah penting untuk mengurangkan risiko wabak berkenaan ialah memastikan pesakit yang dijangkiti mendapatkan rawatan awal seberapa segera yang boleh.

"Rawatan awal penting bagi mengelakkan jangkitan bertambah serius dan ia akan menjadi sukar dikawal," katanya dan menambah orang ramai tidak perlu bimbang dengan wabak itu. Yang penting, katanya, semua pihak perlu mengutamakan aspek kebersihan sebagai satu amalan harian yang wajar diberi perhatian serius.

"Jika rumah atau taman asuhan bersih, saya yakin penularan wabak HFMD dapat dielakkan. Kebersihan amat penting dalam semua aspek kehidupan seharian," katanya.

Terbaru, satu ke HFMD dilaporkan di Sibu, kes berkenaan turut membabitkan satu kes kematian di kawasan berkenaan.

Tempatkan pelajar asing satu kawasan

Jabatan Imigresen mencadangkan supaya pelajar asing yang melanjutkan pengajian di negara ini ditempatkan di satu kawasan tertentu memandangkan mereka mempunyai budaya yang begitu asing dengan rakyat di negara ini.

Ketua Pengarah Imigresen, Datuk Mahmood Adam berkata, pelaksanaan kaedah itu turut dapat membantu pihaknya memantau secara dekat pelajar asing itu dan sekiranya menimbulkan masalah pas pelajar mereka dibatalkan serta merta.

Menurutnya, terdapat sesetengah budaya pelajar asing ini yang gemar berpesta selepas waktu tengah malam hingga mabuk dan ini mengganggu ketenteraman orang awam.

"Budaya pelajar dari segelintir negara ini sangat berbeza dengan kita dan mereka suka berpesta selepas waktu tengah malam malah apabila bila mereka mabuk akan mengganggu orang lain.

"Kalau boleh mereka (pelajar asing) ini perlu tinggal satu tempat tertentu bersama-sama rakan-rakan dari negara yang sama," katanya kepada pemberita di sini hari ini.

Terdahulu beliau mendengar taklimat daripada Pengarah Imigresen Sarawak, Robert Lian sempena lawatannya ke negeri ini di Ibu Pejabat Imigresen Sarawak di Bangunan Iskandar di sini.

Mahmood berkata, jabatan itu telah mengeluarkan sebanyak 51,638 pas pelajar sejak Januari hingga Ogos di Semenanjung manakala di Sarawak pula sejumlah 5,209 pas pelajar asing diberikan.

Katanya, di Sarawak tidak mengalami masalah dalam menghadapi pelajar asing memandangkan institusi pengajian tinggi (IPT) di sini akan melaporkan kepada Jabatan Imigresen sekiranya pelajar asing tersebut tidak hadir kelas selama tiga kali berturut-turut.

Tambahnya, dengan laporan tersebut, Jabatan Imigresen boleh bertindak dengan membatalkan pas pelajar asing terbabit dan mengusirnya keluar dari negara ini.

"Jabatan Imigresen mengawal ketat kemasukan pelajar asing ini bagi mengelak mereka yang bermasalah masuk ke negara ini termasuk memberi satu salinan pas pelajar asing kepada penguatkuasaan yang lain seperti polis untuk pemeriksaan serta pemantauan.

"Saya gembira dengan pengurusan Jabatan Imigresen di Sarawak yang dapat menjalankan fungsi dan peranan jabatan dengan baik sekali termasuk kemasukan pelajar dan warga asing ke negara ini," katanya.


BNM serbu 4 syarikat

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) hari ini menyerbu empat buah syarikat skim cepat kaya melalui Internet yang mempunyai rangkaian beratus-ratus ribu pelabur dengan nilai pelaburan dipercayai mencecah ratusan juta ringgit.

Serbuan tersebut dilakukan di beberapa lokasi di Lembah Klang setelah syarikat-syarikat terbabit disyaki menjalankan kegiatan mengambil deposit tanpa lesen dan membuat pelaburan haram di Kuala Lumpur, Selangor dan Negeri Sembilan.

Mengikut maklumat daripada laman web, secara umumnya syarikat-syarikat tersebut menetapkan bayaran minimum RM1,000 sebagai deposit untuk pendeposit menyertai bidang perniagaan seperti pengiklanan, pelancongan dan perkhidmatan.

BNM dalam satu kenyataan di sini memberitahu, syarikat terlibat ialah Buluhmas Enterprise Sdn. Bhd., Jazmeen (M) Sdn. Bhd., Noradz Travel & Services Sdn. Bhd. dan Eastana Farm Industries Sdn. Bhd.

Buluhmas yang beribu pejabat di Tanjung Karang, Selangor dalam laman webnya mendakwa ia memiliki 700,000 ahli sebagai pembayar deposit di seluruh negara.

Kaedah perniagaannya menggunakan promoter untuk mengiklankan aktiviti syarikat dengan menampal pelekat yang tertera logo syarikat atau perkhidmatan yang ditawarkan kepada pendeposit.

Sekitar pukul 9.30 malam ini, laman web Buluhmas masih boleh dilayari yang menunjukkan sejak April lalu ia telah menerima hampir 250,000 pengunjung.

Sementara itu, Jazmeen dalam laman webnya mendakwa dengan permulaan modal sebanyak RM1,000, pendeposit mampu mendapat pulangan 120 peratus dalam tempoh 12 bulan pertama dan jumlah itu terus bertambah pada tahun-tahun berikutnya.

BNM dalam kenyataannya menambah, tindakan ke atas keempat-empat syarikat itu diambil setelah Unit Penyiasatan Khas BNM menjalankan siasatan terhadap aktiviti syarikat berkenaan.

“Kesemua penganjur skim pelaburan itu akan ditahan selepas BNM merekodkan kenyataan mereka kerana disyaki mengambil deposit secara haram dan menjalankan aktiviti penggubahan wang haram,” jelas kenyataan itu.

Seorang jurucakap BNM ketika dihubungi memberitahu, jumlah sebenar ahli terlibat dan nilai deposit yang dikumpulkan oleh keempat-empat syarikat itu hanya akan diketahui apabila kes mereka dihadapkan ke mahkamah dalam tempoh terdekat.

Aktiviti syarikat-syarikat itu disiasat mengikut Seksyen 25 (1) Akta Bank dan Institusi-Institusi Kewangan 1989 yang melarang mana-mana individu yang tidak mempunyai lesen daripada menerima dan mengambil deposit.

Katanya, jika sabit kesalahan pegawai dan pemilik syarikat-syarikat terlibat boleh didenda tidak melebihi RM10 juta atau dipenjara untuk tempoh 10 tahun atau kedua-duanya sekali.

Syarikat-syarikat itu juga disiasat di bawah Akta Pencegahan Penggubahan Wang Haram dan Pencegahan Pembiayaan Keganasan 2001 (AMLATFA 2001) yang melarang mana-mana individu daripada terlibat atau cuba untuk membabitkan diri atau bersubahat melakukan kegiatan penggubahan wang haram.

Jika disabitkan kesalahan, mereka yang didakwa boleh dikenakan denda tidak melebihi RM5 juta atau dipenjarakan untuk tempoh tidak melebihi lima tahun atau kedua-duanya sekali.

Menurut kenyataan BNM, skim pelaburan yang dianjurkan oleh keempat-empat syarikat yang diserbu hari ini menyatakan kononnya ia berasaskan perdagangan mata wang, pasaran hadapan komoditi, pelaburan luar persisiran dan saham-saham lain.

Dakwaan itu, kata BNM, hanya rekaan semata-mata.

“Orang ramai diingatkan supaya sentiasa berwaspada dengan skim yang ditawarkan melalui Internet, panggilan telefon atau seminar yang dianjurkan oleh individu atau syarikat yang tidak dilesenkan oleh BNM,’’ jelas kenyataan itu.

Orang ramai boleh mengetahui senarai syarikat dan institusi berlesen yang menerima deposit dengan melawat laman web BNM di

Utusan 14/10/08


Minyak mungkin turun 10 sen lagi

Harga runcit petrol dan diesel akan turun 10 sen seliter dalam masa terdekat jika harga minyak mentah dunia kekal di bawah paras AS$100 dolar setong.

Menteri Perdagangan Dalam Negeri dan Hal Ehwal Pengguna, Datuk Shahrir Samad, berkata kerajaan akan menurunkan harga minyak sekali lagi jika trend harga minyak mentah dunia berterusan.

"Bagaimanapun, penurunan harga petrol dan diesel tidak boleh sampai 30 sen kerana ia boleh menjejaskan sistem pengedaran seperti di stesen minyak.

"Jika harga minyak terus pada paras bawah AS$100 dolar setong, tidak mustahil rakyat akan menikmati penurunan harga," katanya pada sidang media di lobi Parlimen di sini, hari ini. Pada 25 September lalu, harga runcit petrol dan diesel diturunkan 10 sen seliter menjadikan petrol RON97 kini RM2.45 seliter, RON92 (RM2.30) dan diesel (RM2.40).

Pelarasan terbaru harga petrol dan diesel adalah kali kedua dilakukan kerajaan sejak yang pertama pada 23 Ogos lalu.

Just two weeks to get Mara loans, says Idris

Two weeks is all it takes for Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) to disburse entrepreneur loans to deserving applicants.

Its chairman Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said that this would be for applicants who provided all the necessary details when applying for loans of up to RM500,000.

“I’ve spoken to the director-general (Datuk Nam Marthinin) and he will look into improving Mara’s delivery system to disburse the loans quickly,” he said after launching Mara’s Business Solution Centre (BSC) at the Medan Mara building here on Monday.

According to Idris, RM1.19bil in Mara loans had been disbursed to 26,473 bumiputra small to medium enterprises since 2006 under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), compared with RM1.94bil from the first to the eighth Malaysia Plans.

“This goes to show that Mara has greatly improved the speed of its delivery processes and amounts in loan disbursements. But some parts of the system need to be improved,” he said.

Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Noh Omar was reported on Sunday to have said that Mara’s loan approval processes had weaknesses and disbursement of loans to needy bumiputra entrepreneurs was too slow.

Idris also said that Mara planned to set up 111 BSCs throughout the country under the 9MP.

Melamine: Authorities clear 11 more products

The Health Ministry has cleared 11 more products containing melamine after it found they were at a permissible level.

The products are Japanese Green Tea Stick (Green Tea Flavour); Milk Candy (Omilk); Soda cracker (Bairong); Chocolate Biscuits (My Bis); Orange Cream Biscuits (Kinshan Bridge); Grape Layer Biscuit (Golden Fuji); Milk Chocolate Peanut Sandwich Biscuits (Guang Zhan Yi Rui Feng Food); Orange Sandwich Cookie (Lai Li Hong); Xylitol Tea Polyphenol Biscuit (Yi Yi Brand); Crystal Red Bean Cracker (Yang Ye Pacific Food); and Potato Gong Fang Cracker (Jia Yau Food).

Ministry Food Safety and Quality Division director Nooraini Mohd Othman urged concerned consumers to call the division for further clarification at (603) 8883-3655/ 8883-3503/ 8883-3652/ 8883-3500 from 8am to 9pm daily, including public holidays.

Consumers can also get more information at


Govt increases stockpile of rice

It is not all gloom in the world economy as prices for rice decreased significantly in line with the drop of global fuel rates.

This in turn has allowed the Government to increase its stockpile level three times more than last May, Agriculture and Agro-Based Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said.

The ministry expects more decreases in the price of rice in view of the depreciation of other commmodities, notably the the global fuel prices, he added.

“We are in a comfortable zone for now. We have moved ahead of the fears of a global food crises but we have to remain watchful,” Mustapa said after attending the Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) Hari Raya open house at its temporary campus in Taman Bendahara.

On the possibility of importing rice from Vietnam, Mustapa said ministry officials are surveying the quality and, if it meets the standard, the Government will consider buying from them, Mustapa said.

Gerakan proposes fuel prices be revised weekly

Gerakan proposes that fuel prices be revised at least once a week so that the people can reap the benefits immediately.

“When the global fuel price falls, we have to wait a month to feel the benefits. Now the price is at US$82 (RM287) per barrel, this must be felt immediately by the rakyat,” said party president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon after closing the party’s 37th National Delegates Conference on Sunday.

Koh said it was not right that the rakyat should have to wait a month to feel the positive effects of a global fuel price drop when the price drop for crude palm oil could be felt immediately.

“If not floated, at least revise the fuel price once a week, either every Monday or every Sunday, so we can follow the world market closer,” he told reporters after party delegates passed a resolution to strenghten the national economy against the current global recession.

The party also passed a resolution to call for the forming of a Barisan Nasional special task force to look into making changes to laws that require detention without trial.

“It is the party’s stance that Acts that require detention without trial must be amended so that the protection of human rights is preserved,” Koh said.

He said while the party understood that there are many views regarding the matter, Barisan must have this task force to discuss amending laws such as the Internal Security Act, Universities and University Colleges Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

On party reforms, Koh said the conference received many “good ideas” from delegates to strengthen the party and become a more multi-racial one.

“The party has to be more sensitive, more accommodating to different customs and values. Many improvements are needed to make it a more genuinely Malaysian for all party,” he said.

He said most of the “good ideas” could not be revealed as they are strategic secrets but he gave an example of having more multi-racial and multi-cultural events at the grassroots level.

“There are many functions for the Chinese. Why not have Hari Raya Aidilfitri for instance?” Koh said.