Monday, April 21, 2008

Olympic flame captivates KL -

A large crowd turned up to watch the Olympic torch make its way though Kuala Lumpur on Monday despite the heavy downpour.

Scuffle at the torch rally -

Police detained a Japanese man who unfurled a pro Tibet banner at the starting point of the Olympic Torch in Kuala Lumpur.

PR MPs want to meet Syed Hamid on media -

At a press conference held at DAP's Damansara Service Centre, they said the government's move to loosen its publications licensing regime by allowing opposition PKR to publish its Suara Keadilan party organ and the apparent openness to bloggers are laudable.

However, the decision to revoke Tamil paper Makkal Osai's printing permit for reasons that remain unclear illustrates the need for a complete overhaul of laws pertaining to the media, they said.

Malaysia parades Olympic torch through sun, rain, protests - AP

By Vijay Joshi

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - The Olympic torch was carried through blistering sun, torrential rain and isolated protests in Malaysia on Monday, completing another segment of its round-the-world relay that has become a magnet for protests against China's crackdown in Tibet.

A Japanese brother and sister and the woman's 5-year-old boy were heckled and roughed up by Chinese nationals when they unfurled a Tibetan flag before the start of the heavily guarded relay in downtown Kuala Lumpur.

Police detained the Japanese but released them without charges after about six hours. The Chinese were not detained.

At one point in the relay a Western man wearing a T-shirt reading "Beijing Torches Human Rights" rushed forward shouting "Shame, shame, shame." He was hustled away by police but not arrested.

A British woman wearing a "Free Tibet" T-shirt and a foreign Buddhist monk were also detained and released after a few hours.

Criticism of China's human rights record has turned the Olympic torch run into one of the most contentious in recent history.

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Saya bukan penakut - Najib - Utusan

KUALA LUMPUR 21 April — Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak hari ini menolak dakwaan Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad kononnya beliau lemah dan pengecut dan tidak layak menjadi Perdana Menteri.

“Ia bukan masalah `Mr. Yes Man atau tak berani atau takut sebab saya berpegang kepada prinsip bahawa cara yang terbaik ialah penyerahan kuasa secara tersusun, cara yang terhormat. Itu yang akan memberi makna dan menentukan kepentingan parti tidak terjejas,” katanya kepada pemberita hari ini, ketika diminta mengulas kenyataan Dr Mahathir bahawa beliau tidak seharusnya menjadi Perdana Menteri kerana tidak berani mendedahkan sebab sebenar kekalahan Barisan Nasional pada pilihan raya lepas.

Najib berkata, sorotan sejarah UMNO akan membawa orang ramai melihat bahawa penyerahan kuasa yang pertama antara almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj dan allahyarham Tun Abdul Razak Hussein berjalan dengan cara yang baik.

“(Allahyarham) Tun Hussein Onn serah kepada Tun Dr. Mahathir pun dengan cara yang baik. Sudah ada tradisi, cara yang baik yang diamalkan dalam parti.

“Pada hemat saya itulah cara yang terbaik dan kaedah yang baik untuk kita melakukan perubahan kepada kepimpinan negara seperti mana yang dinyatakan oleh Perdana Menteri dan presiden parti,” katanya.


CM: Lee's appointment for Penang's future - The Sun

By Opalyn Mok and Pauline Wong

PENANG (April 21, 2008): The appointment of Datuk Lee Kah Choon as a director of Penang Development Corporation (PDC) is a move to help the state government chart a new course and hopes for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) party members, says Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

"The decision to appoint Lee as PDC director and executive committee chairman of InvestPenang (PDC's investment arm) was made after consultations in the state executive council. Now, we definitely have to explain that we want to have a new political paradigm," he added.

"Whenever there is something new, there are bound to be criticism," he said when asked whether the appointment of an outsider had upset PR members.

Lim said: "This decision is to give everyone the opportunity to contribute (to the state) as we do not want to discriminate against race, religion or political background.

"I will explain (this decision) to any dissatisfied party member and hope he or she will accept the decision."

The appointments have raised eyebrows in the political scene as Lee was one of the three Gerakan leaders who could have become Penang Chief Minister if Barisan Nasional (BN) had won the mandate to rule the state.

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Malaysia steps up anti-corruption battle: PM - AFP

Malaysia's prime minister Monday said he would boost the powers of the country's anti-corruption agency in a bid to step up the battle against graft.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's announcement comes amid growing calls to clamp down on corruption in the country, one of the issues that led many voters to switch sides in recent elections.

"My government will restructure the anti-corruption agency... to become a full-fledged Malaysian Commission on Anti-Corruption," Abdullah said.

"To enhance its effectiveness, transparency and public accountability the new commission structure will be set up to include a system of effective checks and balances," he added.

"It is my fervent hope that by restructuring the (agency), its effectiveness, transparency and accountability will be considerably raised while public trust in its integrity and independence will be quickly renewed."

The agency, currently under Abdullah's office, will report to a new parliamentary committee on corruption prevention.

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ACA To Become Commission By Year-end - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 (Bernama) -- The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) will be made a full-fledged commission by year-end, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced Monday.

The prime minister said this was one of the four key reform initiatives that would be carried out by the government in the move to address the public concerns on corruption in the country.

He said the commission, which would have to table an annual report and be subject to queries from a parliamentary committee on the prevention of corruption, would ensure that there would be an effective check and balance.

The government would also increase the commission's workforce to 5,000 officers over a period of five years, he said when launching the first Asean Integrity Dialogue 2008, here.

He said the government would also "introduce legislation to provide a comprehensive protection for whistle blowers and witnesess" in corruption cases.

The government would also take immediate steps to improve the public procurement process through measures targeted at addressing specific problems in the system, he added.

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The Sun Front Page (21/4)

Read this doc on Scribd: The Sun Malaysia Cover (21 April 2008)
ai GG The Sun. 15/4/08 4:57:58rob The nation’s FREE newspaper 30 sen for delivery to your doorstep MEMBER AUDIT BUREAU OF CIRCULATIONS (MALAYSIA) 275,000 COPIES DAILY Award winning newspaper for public service reporting and opinion writing. No. 4496 PP 2644/12/2008 (020369) Monday April 21, 2008 TELLING IT AS IT IS » Iraqi cleric warns of open war pg12 » Plucking a Latin beat pg24 Entertainment by Opalyn Mok PENANG: It was a day of firsts yesterday: Former Health Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Lee Kah Choon, who could have been chief minister had Barisan Nasional retained Penang, was appointed a director of the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) and executive committee chairman of InvestPenang – PDC’s investment arm. Lee (top pic) is the first opposition member to sit on the boards of the state economic development corporation and its subsidiary. In Selangor, Teng Chang Khim (middle pic) was proposed as the first non-Malay speaker of the state assembly and Haniza Talha as first woman deputy speaker (page 2). Describing his decision to accept the posts as “non-political” but a way to contribute towards Penang’s development, Lee said he could provide “check and balance” from within the system, instead of outside. Speaking after a press conference by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who announced his appointments, the former Jelutong MP and Gerakan deputy secretary-general, stressed that he was still a Gerakan member. “I am taking this position only because I believe I can contribute as an ordinary citizen towards Penang’s development,” he said, adding that his position at InvestPenang was part-time and voluntary. Asked if his party will take any action against him for accepting the posts from a Pakatan Rakyat government, Lee said it should not be an issue as he had withdrawn from politics. He quit from all Gerakan posts at the end of last month. “As far as I am concerned, politics is history for me, and I make this decision as an ordinary citizen,” he said. “I can be a voice within the state government. Check and balance need not be outside but from within,” said Lee who was offered the positions a week ago. He took just a » Day of firsts » PENANG: FORMER PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY ACCEPTS POST FROM PAKATAN GOVT You pay – even if you don’t use ERL by Terence Fernandez and R. Nadeswaran » SELANGOR: NON-MALAY SPEAKER IN CHANG KHIM » SELANGOR: WOMAN DEPUTY SPEAKER IN HANIZA few days to accept the offer and even “reported for work” at InvestPenang last Friday. Asked if he had any regrets about his decision which could mean an end to his political career in Gerakan, Lee said he had none. “I do not know what I will do in future, but for now, I am only hoping to contribute towards the development of Penang,” he said. Asked if this decision was a tough one to make, Lee said if he had stuck to partisan politics, he would be a very difficult decision, but since he had resigned from all posts, it was an easy decision. “This is just another stage in my life, and I do not regret leaving my political life behind me,” said Lee, who contested for the Machang Bubuk state seat on March 8 and had XINHUA PIX » been in the running as one of three potential successors to former chief minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon. Earlier, Lim said the state executive council approved the appointments on Wednesday. “We feel that Lee can support the state government in pushing the economic development of the state,” he said, adding that the state government welcomed anyone who was sincere about helping the state government, regardless of religion, race or political background. Lim also announced that Datuk Ho Mooi Ching was retained as state Appeals Board chairman and Tan Sri Khalid Ahmad Sulaiman as its vice-chairman. ... The flame of the 2008 Beijing Olympics is received by Olympic Council of Malaysia deputy president Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan and Datuk Sieh Kok Chee (far right), honorary secretary of OCM, at KLIA early yesterday. It was brought by Jiang Xiaoyu, vice-president of the games organising committee, from Bangkok. The torch relay starts from Dataran Merdeka this afternoon. Olympic spirit PETALING JAYA: Passengers who fly off from Sepang have been paying an additional RM2 to RM6 in airport tax for the last six years – no thanks to a lopsided deal between the government and Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERLSB) which operates the Express Rail Link (ERL). The KLIA Express connects KL Sentral and KL International Airport. According to sources, under the terms of agreement for the RM2.8 billion ERL project, a portion of the airport taxes that departing passengers pay goes to the company – RM2 for domestic passengers and RM6 for international travellers from KLIA as well as the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT). It is learnt that the rationale behind the concession agreement signed in 1997 is to ensure a return on investment for the service which started in 2002. YTL Corporation holds a 50%stake in ERLSB, which is responsible for building and operating the high-speed rail link. Tabung Haji Technologies Sdn Bhd holds 40% and Nadicorp Holdings Sdn Bhd the remaining 10%. ERLSB operates under a 30-year concession, including an option to extend for another 30 years to own and operate the express rail link. The ERL faces competition from other public transport operators due to its fare of RM35 for a one-way trip. Airport tax for KLIA is RM45 for international travellers and domestic passengers pay RM6. Airport tax for departures from the LCCT is RM6 for domestic and RM35 for international passengers. KLIA handled about 25 million passengers last year and the LCCT about eight million. “Half of these figures were departing passengers, which means ERL would be receiving in the region of RM80 million a year (from airport tax),” said a source. » Citizen Nades comments on page 14

Umno men reject state govt posts - NST

GEORGE TOWN: Three Umno assemblymen who were offered seats in various state administrative committees recently have rejected the offers, claiming it could be a political trap.

The three are Sungai Acheh's Datuk Mahmud Zakaria, Seberang Jaya's Datuk Ariff Shah Omar Shah and Pulau Betong's Muhamad Farid Saad.

State Umno liaison committee secretary and state opposition chief Datuk Azhar Ibrahim said the party had expected the new state government to make such an offer and had agreed from the start to reject it.

Azhar, who is also Penaga assemblyman, said Umno wanted to give the state government space to fulfil its election promises.

He said the party's involvement in the state administration would make it difficult for them to debate any motion tabled at the state legislative assembly.

"However, we are prepared to give them our advice and help," Azhar said.

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'Dr Khir to blame for Indian vote swing' - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has urged all Barisan Nasional leaders to accept blame for the coalition's poor performance in the last general election and not just the prime minister.

In reiterating the MIC's undivided support for Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to lead the country, he said: "Every one of us has to take a slice of the blame."

He criticised former Selangor menteri besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo for calling on Abdullah to hasten handing over power to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

"Dr Khir has to take a bigger slice of the blame for Barisan Nasional's poor show in the general election.

"This is because just two days before Deepavali, he had ordered the demolition of the (Hindu) temple in Padang Jawa (in Shah Alam) that enraged the Hindu community throughout the country," he said yesterday.

Samy Vellu said on the day the temple was demolished, he had rushed to a hotel in Shah Alam to meet Abdullah and Dr Khir who were attending a function.

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'I will not apologise' - NST

GEORGE TOWN: DAP chairman Karpal Singh said there was no reason for him to apologise or retract his criticism of the Tengku Mahkota of Kelantan for the latter's speech.

He said the speech could provoke ill will and hostility among the different races in the country.

Karpal said the attorney-general should look into the possibility of directing a police officer to lodge a report against the Tengku Mahkota for going beyond what he claimed was permissible as freedom of speech.


KLIA heist: Police hunt for inside man - NST

SHAH ALAM: After arresting four suspects in connection with the RM3.5 million robbery at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, police are now looking for a fifth suspect, believed to be the inside man.

Sources familiar with the case revealed that the suspects could not have known about the moneychangers at KLIA or their valuable cargo without a tip-off.

The source also said police were interviewing the four injured in the shoot-out.

On Friday, police raided a terrace house in Skudai, Johor and arrested two men from Perak. Police also seized RM259,850 and S$10,000 (RM23,190) from the house.

They also found two Glock 19 semi-automatic pistols, a Smith & Wesson revolver, a Beretta shotgun, a Llama .22 automatic pistol, five handcuffs, 284 9mm bullets, five .22 calibre bullets, a smoke bomb and a pair of gloves.

On the same day, police raided an apartment in Taman Perling, Johor, and arrested a 26-year-old, also from Perak. They confiscated US$129,000 (RM405,520) and RM23,000 in cash and a Honda Jazz.

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Dr M: Najib should not be PM - The Star

By Choi Tuck Wo

MANCHESTER: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he had second thoughts about Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak becoming Prime Minister as Najib had failed to speak up about the real reasons behind Barisan Nasional’s losses in the general election.

The former prime minister claimed that Najib was not “brave enough” to directly say anything that was not liked by his boss.

“We see that he is a penakut (coward). He is always saying, ‘yes sir, yes sir, saya sokong, saya sokong (I support, I support).”

He said, when the prime minister blamed Barisan’s losses on sabotage, Najib merely agreed to it.

Dr Mahathir cited another instance when Najib gave his full support for Malaysia to build a bridge to Singapore despite the republic’s disagreement. But Najib suddenly changed his mind when Abdullah decided against the project, he added.

“I believe he should rightly explain the real reasons for Barisan’s losses in the election,” he said when asked on the reason for his change of mind about Najib after giving a talk on “Malay, Malaysian and Malaysia: Challenges Ahead” at the University of Manchester on Saturday.

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