Monday, June 2, 2008

Need To Minimise Impacts, Says Abdullah - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 (Bernama) -- Unprecedented increases in the price of oil and other commodities, especially food items, need to be resolved to minimize their negative impacts on the people, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Monday.

The Prime Minister said there was therefore a necessity to identify ways and means of managing these problems.

He said vigorous cooperation was much needed in the area of agriculture especially in exploiting to the fullest the potentials for increasing food production.

"I do believe that boosting the trade relations between Malaysia and Namibia and increasing investment in any other cooperative ventures between us will also help," he said at a luncheon in honour of the President of the Republic of Namibia, Hifikepunye Pohamba, here Monday.

Abdullah said Malaysia was fully aware that Namibia was embarking upon major economic projects such as developing the Walvis Bay port as a major gateway to the country.

"Malaysian exporters can certainly use Walvis Bay as the gateway not only to Namibia but also to the wider South African Development Community (SADC) market," he said.

[More at]

Malaysia's opposition says some government lawmakers may change mind about defecting - AP

By Julia Zappei, AP

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Some Malaysian government lawmakers who were planning to defect to the opposition might change their minds now that the prime minister has announced policy changes to win their allegiance, opposition leaders said Monday.

Officials in the opposition People's Justice Party nevertheless voiced confidence that enough members of Parliament will still switch sides by September to topple Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's government.

"My gut feeling is (Abdullah's reforms) are not going to change things very much," said the party's vice president, Sivarasa Rasiah.

Worries about potential defections were believed to be a main reason that Abdullah promised on Saturday to increase funding and improve administrative policies for Sabah, a poor eastern state where complaints about government neglect have simmered for years.

Abdullah's National Front coalition has been jittery about losing power after it clinched only 140 seats in the 222-member Parliament in March elections - the first time in 40 years that it failed to secure a two-thirds majority.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim of the People's Justice Party has repeatedly claimed that he can get at least 30 lawmakers, mainly from Malaysia's Sabah and Sarawak states on Borneo island to defect. That would be enough to topple Abdullah's government.

[More at]

Challenger to Samy Vellu's throne - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: The race for the MIC party president has begun with MIC Klang division chief's decision to contest.

P. Thiagarasan, 54, or better known as Alex Thiagarasan, told the New Straits Times yesterday that he was vying for the post held for the past 29 years by Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

"I think that I'm worthy of the president's post. But, if there is a better candidate, then I would make way for the person. I will instead vie for the deputy or vice-president's post," he said.

Thiagarasan, who unsuccessfully contested a vice-president's post in the last party election, also called for abolishing the quota system of getting nominations from at least 300 branch chiefs to make a bid for the party's presidency.

He said there must be a concerted attempt to unseat Samy Vellu if he had not gone by the next election, which was not due until next March.

[More at]

Malay students affected - The Star

PETALING JAYA: Increasing the quota for non-bumiputras for Public Service 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 that 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. He said this was to ensure that the bumiputras were not affected and the non-bumiputras would get even more opportunities.


Try again, Zaid tells media - The Star

VIDEO: Zaid: Media should unite for reforms

KUALA LUMPUR: Media practitioners should unite and put forward again their proposals for reforms and more press freedom, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

Speaking at the National Press Club, the de facto law minister said just because the press had engaged the Government 10 years ago to push for media freedom, “it doesn’t mean you must stop there.”

“Try again. After all it’s part of the changing process,” he told a gathering of journalists, writers, bloggers and civil society yesterday.

Zaid was heckled during his speech and the question-and-answer session.

He said it was easy to blame the state of the media in the country on “repressive laws” but it was important for the press to be honest and look at itself and take responsibility.

“If you don’t want the Government to regulate, then you have to offer a solution. You have to have a better plan. You can’t just say ‘repeal, repeal, repeal’ without a mechanism in place.

“You want to change the law, by all means, make a representation. If you say it’s not your business, then whose business is it?” he said.

[More at]