Sunday, May 18, 2008

Government Yet To Decide On Soyuz Spaceship Purchase - Bernama

SUBANG JAYA, May 18 (Bernama) -- The government has yet to decide whether to buy the spaceship Soyuz TMA-11 in which astronaut Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha flew to the International Space Station (ISS) last year.

Deputy Science, Technology and Innovations Minister Fadillah Yusof said negotiations were still being held with the Russian Space Agency on the offer.

"If we buy it, we want them to transfer the spaceship technology," he told reporters after attending a dinner in conjunction with the 16th World Congress on Information Technology's golf tournament here Sunday.

He said the government would consider the purchase if the price was right and after it had studied on the benefit in terms of the technology transfer and space exploration to the country.

On the second astronaut programme, he said a study on the space mission would be ready next month, after which it would be tabled to the Cabinet for consideration.


Investigation May Not Lead To Prosecution Of Individuals, Says Najib - Bernama

From Abdul Muin Abdul Majid

SHARM EL SHEIKH (Egypt), May 18 (Bernama) -- The investigation on the six individuals, including former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, named in the report by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Datuk V.K. Lingam's video clip case, does not necessarily lead to prosecution or there was a case to answer, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Sunday.

The deputy prime minister said the scrutiny made by the five-member commission and the evidence to be adduced in court differed in terms of methodology and principle.

"This is the recommendation by the commission. When we have set up a commission and later it submits its report, it's difficult for us to not make the report public and not to accept the recommendations made.

"Nevertheless, this does not necessarily mean that there will be prosecution or there is a case to answer," he told Malaysian journalists covering the World Economic Forum on the Middle East which started today.

Najib was asked to comment on the cabinet's instruction to the attorney-general to initiate immediate investigations on allegations against individuals named in the 186-page report by the commission which investigated the authenticity of the video clip featuring senior lawyer Lingam brokering judges' appointments and promotions over the handphone.

Individuals named in the report are Lingam, former deputy minister in the prime minister's department Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan, two former chief justices Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and Tun Mohd Eusoff Chin and Dr Mahathir.

[More at]

Religion still a sensitive issue in Malaysia: PM - AFP

Malaysia's premier admitted Sunday that religion continues to be a sensitive issue in the multicultural nation but said he hoped that conflicts could continue to be resolved peacefully.

"Malaysia is fortunate as the people of various races and religions in the country can live in peace and harmony all this while," Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.

"The constitution guarantees the freedom to practise any faith although Islam remains as the official religion," Abdullah said in the statement ahead of the Buddhist Wesak Day celebrations on Monday.

"Realising the fact that religious issues are still a sensitive topic, the government has engaged... with various religious groups in the country to better understand their needs while strengthening ties," he added.

"I really hope through this, we can resolve conflicts or problems peacefully and amicably," he added.

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It was only a suggestion, says PM - The Star

By Shahanaaz Habib

KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet had merely suggested to the Election Commission (EC) to not use the indelible ink for the general election. It was not a directive, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The Prime Minister disclosed that a week before Parliament was dissolved, the Cabinet had made the suggestion, giving its reasons why it did not want the ink to be used.

“We had received information that some quarters had bought the ink although they had no authority to do so and we were suspicious that it could be used to cause confusion and complications during the voting process,” he told reporters yesterday after delivering his closing remarks at the end of the 11th MSC Malaysia International Advisory Panel Meeting.

Abdullah said the Cabinet believed that the election process would go on smoothly and all eligible voters could cast their votes if the indelible ink was not used.

“It was only a suggestion we made to the EC chairman. It was up to him to think it over and agree or to proceed with the original decision to use the ink,” he said.

When the decision to scrap the ink was announced at the eleventh hour of the general election, Barisan Nasional leaders, including Abdullah, had said that they wanted an explanation from the EC on why it was doing away with the indelible ink.

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Dr M: Malays losing grip on political power - The Star

PETALING JAYA: The Malays have loosened their grip in political power to the point where non-Malays no longer respect them and their institutions, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

The former Prime Minister said everything deemed as Malay privileges had been questioned and challenged by the non-Malays.

“And the Malays are not doing anything to counter all these and strengthen their positions,” he said in his latest posting on his blog

Instead, he said the Malays asked others to defend their position.

“But this is 'passing the buck' including the excuse that it is all because of Dr Mahathir who led for 22 years and chose Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as his successor.”

Dr Mahathir said that in the 50 years of independence, political power was in the hands of the Malays and they could call themselves tuan (masters).

However, he said the Malays could only become tuan if they were capable and successful economically and socially.

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