Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dr Mahathir confirms meeting with Najib - NSTP e-Media

Government Says It Will Maintain Its NEP-based Policy For The Good Of The Nation - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 (Bernama) -- The government has no plans to amend its policy based on the spirit of the New Economic Policy (NEP) which is aimed at improving the socio-economic lot of not only Bumiputeras but also Malaysians of Indian origin, the Orang Asli and minority groups in Sabah and Sarawak, the Dewan Rakyat was told Thursday.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Senator Datuk Amirsham A. Aziz said the government will continue to undertake its commitment to implement NEP-based strategies, that is, eradication of poverty regardless of race and restructuring society to remove racial identification with economic functions.

"Should the objectives of the spirit of the NEP be successfully realised, especially in terms of a more equitable distribution of the nation's wealth among and within the ethnic communities, states and between the urban and rural areas, this will speed up efforts to ensure a fairer balance in participation among all levels of society in Malaysia," he said when replying to Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) during Question Time.

The successful realisation of the aims of the spirit of the NEP will contribute towards solidifying national solidarity, which is the most vital asset for a complex society like Malaysia's in continuing the march towards further progress beyond 2020.

Amirsham explained that the NEP was drawn up in the early 1970s with the main objective of bringing about national solidarity and nation-building through a two-prong strategy of eradication of poverty irrespective of race and restructuring society to remove the identification of race with economic activities.

He said the NEP spirit was later incorporated in subsequent economic policies - the National Development Policy, National Vision Policy and the National Mission under the Ninth Malaysia Plan - to narrow the socio-economic gap between ethnic communities as well as between urban and rural areas.

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'Opposition offered us millions to switch camps' - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: Millions of ringgit have allegedly been offered to tempt Barisan Nasional MPs from Sabah to join the opposition.

Sabah backbenchers yesterday said they were approached with incentives of cash and positions to jump ship, as rumours swirled in Dewan Rakyat of impending defections to the Pakatan Rakyat camp.

The rumoured amounts ranged from RM5 million to RM30 million for each MP - more if he brings others with him.

Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin said he was approached by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leaders after the general election and enticed to abandon BN.

Talk of crossovers intensified after the formation of the cabinet in March, and has been kept at fever pitch by the PKR leadership ever since.

"There was a discussion but it did not go to the extent of money being offered," Bung Mokhtar said.

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CLP to be scrapped - The Star

By Royce Cheah

KUALA LUMPUR: The Certificate of Legal Practice (CLP) will soon be scrapped in favour of the Common Bar Course (CBC) and Common Bar Exam (CBE), Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said.

Citing that a study by a committee appointed by the Legal Profession Qualifying Board (LPQB) on how to implement the move was in its final stages, Zaid said the goal was to standardise and improve the quality of law practitioners.

“The CBC and CBE will be mandatory for anyone who wants to practise law, whether they are local or foreign graduates.”

Zaid, however, would not speculate on whether the CBC and CBE would be the only prerequisite before a graduate is called to the Bar or whether chambering would continue.

“The course and exam will be overseen by a non-profit organisation supported by the Government.”

Zaid, who was speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby, was expanding on a written reply to Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh’s question on whether the Government had plans to abolish the CLP and what it would be replaced with.

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No fees in submarine, jet deal - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government has never paid anyone commission for the procurement of two Scorpene submarines and 18 Sukhoi fighter jets, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said Malaysia had direct negotiations with the countries involved.

The submarines were purchased from France and Spain and the jets from Russia.

“On the allegation made by Yang Berhormat Permatang Pauh (Opposition Leader Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) that Perimekar Sdn Bhd had received a commission of €114.96mil (RM580.46mil) in the Scorpene submarines deal, the ministry wants to stress that the Government has never paid any commission directly or indirectly to the company.

“On the purchase of Sukhoi, I want to stress that the Government has never paid any commission to IMT (M) Defence Sdn Bhd as alleged,” Najib said in his winding-up speech on the motion of thanks on the Royal Address in the Dewan Rakyat here yesterday.

He was responding to renewed allegations by Wan Azizah that the purchase of the two submarines worth RM4.5bil involved the payment of a commission exceeding RM540mil to Perimekar.

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26 elderly Malaysian tourists missing in Sichuan - The Star

BEIJING: A group of 26 elderly Malaysian tourists has been missing since Monday’s devastating earthquake that hit south-western Sichuan province as the death toll rose to nearly 15,000 and thousands were reported buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings and landslides.

Malaysian Consul-General in Kunming Ayauf Bachi said that while the fate of the group is still not known, there have been no reports of Malaysian casualties.

The consulate has sought the help of the Sichuan local government to trace the Malaysians, whose last known stop was in Maoxian, less than 50km from the epicentre of the quake in Wenchuan county.

“The Chinese authorities formed a special team this morning to look for foreign tourists. We are working with them on this,” he told Bernama.

He said the consulate was contacted on Tuesday evening by Ipoh-based Golden Dragon Tours, which had arranged the trip for the group, half of whom were elderly women.

The Chengdu local agent handling the tour said the agency had alerted tourism and communications authorities in Aba county near Maoxian after it failed to contact the tourist guide accompanying the group.

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