Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ministry To Submit Proposal On Future Development On Middle Rocks - Bernama

PUTRAJAYA, June 3 (Bernama) -- The Foreign Ministry is expected to table a proposal on future developments on Middle Rocks which include the possibility of joining the two rocks or setting up a scientific research centre, its minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said.

"We are presenting a report to the Cabinet Wednesday on the continuity of activities in respect of the judgement by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), based at The Hague, (Netherlands)," he told reporters after a cheque presentation of Malaysia's contribution to China for the victims of snowstorm here Tuesday.

He said a committee of experts had been instructed to compile data and information on the Middle Rocks, and he would compile the report for the information of the Cabinet Wednesday.

Rais said he was in communication with the Foreign Minister of Singapore recently, and "we thought it would be a good idea for both countries not to politicise the question of Middle Rocks and Batu Putih to the extent that some people have been overly concerned and hugely misunderstood by the decision."

He said that a weather observation station could possibly be erected on Middle Rocks plus other facilities to assist fishermen to carry out their traditional fishing.

"But all these will be brought before the joint committee with Singapore and we have requested for a date to be fixed so that both parties could discuss amicably and chart what needs to be done.

"We will continue to develop or to suggest matters pertaining to the future of Middle Rocks while Singapore may also suggest or put forward their views for the future of Batu Putih," he said.

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Overseas Umno Club Alumni Wants Higher Scholarship Quota - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 (Bernama) -- The Overseas Umno Club Alumni wants the government to raise the quota for Public Service Department (JPA) scholarships from 2,000 to 20,000 to enable more Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera students to study abroad.

A committee member of the Alumni, Ahmad Zaini Ismail, said the increase in quota would give more opportunities to Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera students to pursue higher studies abroad.

"We hope the government will increase the number of scholarships so that more students will benefit, which means that even the non-Bumiputeras will also gain," he said after attending the closing of the Integrated Motivational Course for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) students by Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Noh Omar, here Tuesday.

Late last month, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz told the Dewan Rakyat sitting that the number of JPA scholarships for Overseas Degree Programmes for non-Bumiputeras had been raised from 10 per cent to 45 per cent beginning this year.

He said that 2,000 scholarships were provided by the JPA of which 1,100 were for Bumiputera students and 900 for non-Bumiputeras.


Full subsidy system cannot be decided now, says Shahrir - The Star

By Manjit Kaur

KUALA LUMPUR: The fuel subsidy scheme to be announced Wednesday is a step towards the total revamp of the subsidy that will take place in August, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said.

He said the full subsidy system couldn’t be decided immediately, as currently the Finance Ministry, for example, is still evaluating all proposals and a final decision had yet to be made on the scheme.

Shahrir said the announcement on Wednesday would be an incremental step towards that, and that he did not see the statements made by him and the Prime Minister as contradictory.

"The announcement by the Prime Minister should be seen as the implemental part, not the step towards the final solution.

"I don't think it is the final scheme, as there must be a system if there is a hike in fuel prices, what is the proper subsidy mechanism that the Government will use,'' he told a press conference Tuesday after his keynote address at the 1st Malaysian Construction Summit 2008 at PWTC here.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said on Monday that the new fuel subsidy scheme would be announced by the Government on Wednesday.

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Proposal on Middle Rocks just a suggestion, says Rais - The Star

By Mazwin Nik Anis

PUTRAJAYA: The proposal to "enjoin" two rocks that form Middle Rocks will have to be approved by the Cabinet after studying a feasibility report, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said.

He said joining the two rocks was just a suggestion for the Government to consider after it had been determined that Middle Rocks now belongs to Malaysia following a ruling by the International Court of Justice last month.

"Whether the proposal will affect the eco-system in the area will have to be determined by a feasibility study. These are among points and suggestions raised by various parties but for now, we have to register our presence there through legal means," he said.

He was speaking to reporters Tuesday after handing over RM4.3mil to Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Cheng Yonghua in aid of the people of China who were affected by a heavy snowstorm last February.

At the function, Yayasan Budi Penyayang chief executive officer Datuk Leela Mohd Ali also presented a cheque worth RM50,000 for the Foreign Ministry to hand over to Myanmar Government to assist victims of Cyclone Nargis.

News reports recently quoted Rais as saying there was a proposal to join the two rocks, which are about 500m to 600m apart so that Middle Rocks would have "more space" for Malaysia to carry out activities.

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PRICE WATCH: New fuel subsidy to be based on need - NST

By : Marc Lourdes

KUALA LUMPUR: Fuel prices are likely to go up in August when a new subsidy system is put in place.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad said under the new system, fuel would be subsidised based on need rather than usage.

"The fuel subsidy for this year is expected to top RM56 billion as petrol and diesel is subsidised by about RM2 per litre," he said at a press conference in the Parliament lobby yesterday.

"We have to find the best way to handle the subsidy issue because if it is not managed properly, usage will just go up.

"If there is no control and no encouragement to reduce usage, our subsidy cost will go up.

"At the moment, the more you use, the more you get. That doesn't sound like a subsidy system."

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MCA shocked by objection to PSD move - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The MCA is saddened and shocked by an Umno Youth leader’s objection to the fairer distribution of Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships for all races.

MCA Youth education bureau chief Dr Wee Ka Siong said the last five years had seen an expansion of PSD scholarships from 900 places in 2004 to 2,000 this year.

“The decision to increase the percentage of non-bumiputra recipients is in tandem with the rise in the number of scholarships. It is a win-win situation for all,” said Dr Wee.

He was commenting on the statement by Umno Youth education bureau chairman Ahmad Ikmal Ismail that increasing the quota for PSD scholarships for non-bumiputras without increasing the actual number of scholarships had drastically affected the bumiputras.

Ahmad Ikmal added this meant scholarships were being taken from the bumiputras and given to non-bumiputras.

Dr Wee, who is Deputy Education Minister, said outstanding bumiputra students should not worry about being deprived of a scholarship if their qualification met the criteria set out by the PSD.

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