Sunday, June 1, 2008

Zaid: Media should unite for reforms -

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim says the media should put forward again its proposals for reforms and to push for press freedom.

Walk proceeds, but not 'as planned' -

The walk from Dataran Merdeka to the National Press Club as a feature of The Walk for Press Freedom event this morning did take place, but instead of happening before Zaid Ibrahim's dialogue, it happened at the end of the minister's meeting with media -- mainstream, online and blogs all represented.

According to the organisers, the purpose of the walk was to send home the message on the need for press freedom, journalism ethics and accountability.

Zaid in his dialogue with the media pointed out that it was unfair to lay blame entirely on the government for the sorry state of press freedom in the country.

He argued that media practitioners should share part of the blame.

"You must ask yourself first - do you take up an unpopular issue with your newsowner?" asked Zaid in the dialogue, which was hosted by the NPC.

It was interesting to note that only Wong Chun Wai of The Star and Steven Gan of Malaysiakini were the only two notable journalists present. Editorial heads of the other mainstream papers chose to stay away, and Zaid was quick to notice their absence.

GPMS Urges Government To Review Decision On Non-Bumiputra Scholarship Quota - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 (Bernama) -- The Peninsula Malay Students Federation (GPMS) has urged the government to review its decision to raise the Public Service Department (PSD) scholarship quota for non-bumiputra students up to 45 per cent.

Its President, Datuk Reezal Merican Naina Merican, said the association, without any intention to be racist, wanted the government to review the decision.

GPMS has been receiving many calls from members from all over the country who wanted an explanation on the matter, he said in a statement Sunday.

"GPMS believes in and upholds the meritocracy principle and hopes that the scholarship scheme will be implemented in the right spirit and mechanism.

"The awarding of scholarships should be based not only on the performance merit but also the socio-economic merit of the people so that the opportunity for higher education focuses on the right target groups of Malaysian society," he said.

[More at]

PSD scholarships: Increasing non-bumi quota not good idea - The Star

By Royce Cheah

PETALING JAYA: Increasing the quota for non-bumiputras for Public Services Department (PSD) scholarships without increasing the actual number of scholarships has drastically affected the bumiputras, the Umno Youth Education Bureau said.

Its chairman Ahmad Ikmal Ismail said while the bureau agreed with the Government to give more scholarships to non-bumiputras, it did not agree with the way it was done.

“The quota for non-bumiputras has increased from 10% to 45% but the number of total scholarships has remained at 2,000.”

Ahmad Ikmal said this meant that scholarships were being taken from the bumiputras to be given to the non-bumiputras.

“We object to this move because it now means 700 scholarships for bumiputra students are gone,” he said.

Ahmad Ikmal said a better way would be to use the New Economic Policy concept to increase the number of total scholarships so that the bumiputras were not affected and the non-bumiputras got even more opportunities.

“For example, if the 'cake' was increased to 3,000 scholarships, using a ratio of 70:30, then bumiputras would get 2,100 places while non-bumiputras would get 900 places,” he said.

[More at]

Malaysia not giving up hope on Batu Puteh yet - The Star

By Paul Gabriel

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has renewed the search for evidence to stake its claim on Batu Puteh, whose sovereignty was deemed to be under Singapore by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said although the ruling by the ICJ at The Hague on May 23 was final and not subject to appeal, there was a specific provision in the court’s rules that allowed for a judicial review of a case within 10 years if new evidence was adduced.

As such, he said he had directed Wisma Putra to try again to trace the ancient letter written by British Governor William T. Butterworth to the Temenggong and Sultan of Johor seeking permission to build the Horsburgh Lighthouse on Batu Puteh.

During the hearing, Malaysia had contended that it was on the basis of the consent of the Temenggong and Johor Sultan via a reply dated Nov 25, 1844 (this letter was produced to the ICJ) that Great Britain built and then operated the lighthouse on the island.

“If we can gain sight of that letter, the gate can be opened again. There is a maximum 10-year period but preferably it should be done within six years.

”The letter could be in London, the British being too good at archiving. We have searched with them but it has not been conclusively proven that they don’t have it.

“Probably it is in Singapore. That would be a double jeopardy,” Dr Rais said in an interview.

[More at]

Mahathir won’t resign as adviser to Proton and Petronas - The Star

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he will not quit as adviser to Proton and Petronas voluntarily, adding that he prefers to be kicked out.

“If they want to take away my positions, they are welcome, as I am not dependent on them and not even if they give me RM15,000 a month. I am not interested. So anytime they say get out, I will get out, no problem,” he said.

Earlier when asked if he would relinquish the positions, he said: “It may be an option, if I feel that I have to do so. But I'd prefer if they kicked me out.''

Dr Mahathir also suggested that Umno MPs form an independent group instead of crossing over to the Opposition if they were dissatisfied with the present leadership.

He said crossing over to the Opposition was wrong, as they would be subjected to opposition policies.

“By forming a separate group, say at least 35 of them, this will cause the Government to collapse and the current Prime Minister will have to resign.

“Then if PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim tries to become the Prime Minister and if the votes go to him and then if Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak have the guts to step in, the 35 MPs can give their votes to him.

“When he (Najib) becomes the Prime Minister, Barisan Nasional remains in power, and it will be no loss to anyone except to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi,” he told a press conference after his speech during a forum “Suntikan Semangat Satria” here yesterday.

[More at]

Call to carry condoms - The Star

By Lisa Goh

PETALING JAYA: In view of the rising number of women contracting HIV, every woman should carry a condom with her for her own protection, said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad.

“This is not to debase them but to protect them. Women are the first ones to get exploited by their partners. But this is just a suggestion, it’s up to them,” he told the press after delivering his speech at the International AIDS Memorial Day here yesterday.

It was the first time that the International AIDS Memorial Day was celebrated openly in Malaysia. The celebration was attended by about 1,000 people.

According to Health Ministry figures, 745 women contracted HIV last year. It is a slight dip compared to 2006 (875), but the general trend is that the numbers are on the rise.

As for AIDS cases, 193 women were diagnosed with the syndrome, and 131 women died from it, while in 2006, 222 women were diagnosed positive and 80 died from it.

Malaysian AIDS Council president Prof Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman said apart from sex workers, many women who contracted HIV were housewives, infected unknowingly by their husbands who could be drug addicts.

[More at]