Archive for February, 2010

Anwar Ibrahim: Kita komit untuk selamatkan Malaysia

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 28, 2010 by ckchew

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Anwar: ‘Worst has yet to come’/EKONOMI MALAYSIA – RETAK MENANTI BELAH

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 27, 2010 by ckchew

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has questioned the government over claims that that Malaysia is on the road to economic recovery after registering a 4.5 percent gross domestic product growth (GDP) in the last quarter of 2009.

According to Anwar, a former finance minister, such pronouncements were “not only premature but irresponsible” pointing out that the increased growth was due to heavy government expenditure rather than a rise in private spending.

NONE“It is clear that the supposedly stronger growth was due to the massive pump priming by the government over the last year. Propping up the sagging economy is at best a stop-gap measure.

“Pump priming by definition cannot be permanent. I am deeply concerned that the continuous reliance on massive spending will take us down the road to economic serfdom. And that may not be too distant in the future,” said Anwar in a statement today.

The opposition leader was referring to the government’s RM60 billion stimulus package last year.

Anwar said the pump-priming measures, such as in the many leakages-plagued mega-projects, were the Barisan Nasional government’s sole economic policy since 1998, the year he was sacked as deputy prime minister and finance minister.

He said this move was done to address the dramatic decrease in private investments, which grew at the compound annual growth rate of 16.2 percent between 1991 and 1997, but fell to 1 percent between 1998 and 2008.

5% growth unlikely

“The data on private investment trend since 1991 should serve as a reminder of the path to economic damnation that BN has dragged us into,” said Anwar.

“Translating this into private investments in real terms, between 2005 and 2008, private investments into our economy stagnated at RM20.3 billion each year. This is even lower than the private investments figure in 1991, nearly 20 years ago”.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak declared that the “worst was over” for the economy and that “we can safely say we have recovered from the crisis”.

Though GDP growth dipped to -1.9 percent for 2009, Najib said the government expects 5 percent growth for 2010.

Despite Najib’s optimism, Anwar described the 2010 growth predictions were “disingenuous at best”.

“What the prime minister does not say to the people is that even if our economy grows by 5 percent, Malaysia will continue to fall behind Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and even Vietnam in 2010”.

IMF says otherwise

Anwar’s predictions were based on the International Monetary Fund Oct 2009 forecast which said Malaysia is expected to perform worst among these countries, though the rest of the world will show signs of recovery.

Vietnam, for example, is expected to double Malaysia’s growth rate while the other countries will outpace Malaysia by an average of 50 percent.

“That is why Pakatan Rakyat will not jump too quickly to declare that the economy has recovered because there are still structural problems with the economy that have to be addressed urgently if we do not want to continue to fall behind.

“The Barisan Nasional government must own up to the fact that our economy is the way it is because of the years of mismanagement and corruption perpetrated by the powers-that-be,” he said.

Anwar said Malaysia’s economic future can only be guaranteed by a government that is accountable, transparent and practices good governances.

“That is why Pakatan Rakyat will remain relentless in the pursuit to offer the people an efficiently managed economy that will sustain the livelihood of future generations,” he added. Mkini

EKONOMI MALAYSIA: RETAK MENANTI BELAH

Pengumuman terbaru oleh Perdana Menteri bahawa “senario ekonomi terburuk” negara telah berakhir kerana KDNK berkembang pada kadar 4.5% dalam suku terakhir 2009 bukan sahaja dikira terlalu awal tetapi juga tidak bertanggungjawab.

Apa yang jelas, pertumbuhan itu sebenarnya dipacu oleh perbelanjaan besar-besaran oleh kerajaan sejak setahun lepas. Suntikan pakej rangsangan, seperti yang diketahui oleh mana-mana ahli ekonomi, sebaiknya adalah langkah sementara dan tidak boleh dilakukan secara berterusan. Oleh sebab itulah, saya amat khuatir kerana kaedah pergantungan yang berterusan kepada perbelanjaan kerajaan secara besar-besaran seperti yang diamalkan Barisan Nasional, akan membawa kita ke kancah permasalahan ekonomi yang sangat serius. Saat apabila ekonomi negara yang kini retak akan terbelah dan berkecai sebenarnya sudah hampir tiba.

Sejak 1998, kerajaan Barisan Nasional hanya tahu satu dasar ekonomi sahaja, iaitu menaikkan perbelanjaan kerajaan (melalui projek-projek besar yang tidak diperlukan dan membazir kerana melibatkan kepentingan kroni) untuk menutup kegagalannya menarik pelaburan individu dan swasta yang telah jatuh merudum.

Data pelaburan individu dan swasta sejak 1991 menjadi peringatan bagaimana Barisan Nasional telah mengheret negara ke lembah kehancuran ekonomi. Kalau sebelumnya di antara tahun 1991 hingga 1997 pelaburan individu dan swasta meningkat setiap tahun pada kadar 16.2%, selepas 1998 hinggalah kini kadar ini hanya menokok 1% secara purata sejak 11 tahun lepas.

Mengambil kira kesan inflasi, maknanya di antara tahun 2005 sehingga 2008, pelaburan individu dan swasta kekal tidak berkembang pada tahap RM20.3 billion setiap tahun. Jumlah ini adalah lebih rendah dari jumlah pelaburan individu dan swasta semasa saya mula-mula menjadi Menteri Kewangan dalam tahun 1991, iaitu hampir 20 tahun lalu.

Pada ketika Barisan Nasional terus hilang punca untuk menghidupkan kembali ekonomi bagi jangka masa panjang, kadar pelaburan individu dan swasta menjunam berbanding dengan tahapnya sebelum tahun 1997. Pada ketika itu, pelaburan individu dan swasta menyumbang 40% kepada KDNK. Malangnya sejak sedekad yang lalu, sumbangan pelaburan individu dan swasta terus merosot secara puratanya kepada kadar 28% sahaja daripada KDNK.

Oleh sebab itu, Pakatan Rakyat tidak akan membuat pengisytiharan yang cuai seperti Perdana Menteri bahawa ekonomi kita sudah pulih, kerana masih terlalu banyak masalah pokok yang perlu diselesaikan dengan segera sekiranya kita tidak mahu Malaysia terus tertinggal di belakang.

Tindakan Perdana Menteri merwar-warkan anggaran pertumbuhan 5% bagi 2010 sebagai sangat baik sebenarnya kurang berhemah. Apa yang tidak diwar-warkan oleh Perdana Menteri disebalik anggaran pertumbuhan 5% itu adalah hakikat bahawa pada kadar tersebut, Malaysia ditinggalkan jauh oleh negara-negara seperti Korea Selatan, Singapura, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Filipina malahan juga Vietnam dalam tahun 2010 kelak. Malaysia pada suatu ketika adalah setanding dengan Korea Selatan dan Singapura dan jauh lebih maju dari negara-negara yang lain.

Anggaran terbaru yang dikeluarkan oleh IMF pada Oktober 2009 menunjukkan bagi tahun 2010, Malaysia dijangkakan akan tumbuh pada kadar yang paling lembap berbanding kumpulan negara-negara tadi, walaupun ekonomi dunia dijangka akan mula pulih. Vietnam dijangka akan tumbuh pada kadar 2 kali ganda lebih baik dari Malaysia dan negara-negara lain akan berkembang pada kadar yang secara puratanya 50% lebih pesat dari Malaysia.

Kerajaan Barisan Nasional perlulah bertanggungjawab dan menerima hakikat bahawa ekonomi kita tersangkut di dalam perangkap seperti yang diumumkan Menteri Kewangan Kedua suatu masa dahulu; adalah disebabkan oleh salahguna kuasa dan rasuah oleh mereka yang berkuasa sejak sekian lama.

Kemakmuran negara pada masa hadapan hanya boleh dijamin oleh sebuah kerajaan yang memikul amanah yang diberikan oleh rakyat dengan rasa tanggungjawab yang tinggi. Maka, persoalan ketelusan dan amalan pentadbiran yang baik adalah prasyarat untuk memulihkan ekonomi negara.

Oleh sebab itu, Pakatan Rakyat akan terus bekerja keras untuk menawarkan kepada rakyat pentadbiran ekonomi yang telus, tulus dan berkembang secara sihat bagi jangkamasa yang panjang demi generasi akan datang.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Ketua Pembangkang

26 Februari 2010

Raja Azman’s lawyers cry foul

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 26, 2010 by ckchew

Lawyers for Raja Azman Petra charged that the investigation conducted on the plight of their client by Suhakam had been neither fair nor thorough.

Yesterday the national human rights council Suhakam had conducted an investigation at the Sungai Buloh prison of allegations that the son of prominent blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin had been tortured.

Siva Subramaniam, heading the investigation had cleared prison authorities of any wrongdoings and claimed that Raja Azman’s wounds were self inflicted.

However, both lawyers J Chandra and Amarjit Singh Sidhu are unhappy over the way the investigation was carried out.

“Why are we not called for the investigation?” Amarjit asked.

Chandra expressed shock that the probe took place in the absence of Raja Azman’s lawyers.

He explained that it was important for counsel to be present to ensure that the interview is conducted in the right manner.

“Inmates might be pressured to give answers just to appease the authorities,” Chandra said.

They explained that the intimidating nature of the prison environment for the inmates makes it difficult to get at the truth.

“The prison is not the right place for an interview because the inmates are afraid,” Chandra said.

Amarjit concurred, saying that the interview should have been done in a place where the inmates are not afraid to voice out their grievances.

“But here, they are put under a microscope and everyone is watching and listening to what they have to say,” Amarjit explained.

The interview should have been, Amarjit said conducted in a neutral place, perhaps at Suhakam’s office.

He added that Raja Azman appeared cheerful probably due to fear of repercussions from the authorities once Suhakam members left.

Smuggled blade mystery

Most importantly,Chandra said is the origin of the razor blade.

“How did Raja Azman obtain the razor blade?” he asked.

Amarjit shot down the explanations given by Suhakam’s commissioner that razor blades smuggled into prisons is normal occurrence.

“If blades can be smuggled, then the prison security must be useless,” he said.

Chandra further questioned Suhakam’s findings that the blade that Raja Azman had swallowed was old and blunt.

“How do they know that the blade was old and blunt?” he asked since it was found after exiting the inmate’s system.

Amarjit claimed that the injuries on Raja Azman were not merely scratches.

“I saw him when he was just hospitalised and I could see that there were real cuts. Suhakam only visited him after almost three weeks, of course they look like scratches to them,” he said.

Amarjit added that Raja Azman  had told him of the abuse when he was in the hospital and the prison wardens were not within earshot.

“He told me that he had asked for hot water from the guard, but was refused. When he questioned the guard, he was pulled out and slapped,” he said.

Thereafter, he said he was then put into a cell with five other inmates. But the room was meant for only three people.

“He spend three days in the room and was mentally stressed before the self-inflicted injuries,” said Amarjit.

Raja Azman’s theft charges hearing is scheduled for March 2 and 3.

Christine Chan?Mkini

Suhakam arse: Raja Azman injuries self-inflicted!!!

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 25, 2010 by ckchew

The country’s human rights body has absolved prison authorities of having abused Raja Azman Petra, son of fugtive blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

National human rights council, Suhakam, today told reporters that the victim himself had admitted that the injuries were self-inflicted during a fit of temper and there was also no evidence of abuse or wrongdoings committed in the Sungai Buloh prison against him.

“We have conducted a thorough investigation and upon interviewing a few inmates and wardens, it was proven that there are no human rights violations,” Suhakam commissioner N Siva Subramaniam said.

A four-member team from the commission had today spend two and half hours at the prison to investigate the complaints pertaining to injuries sustained by Raja Azman early this month.

Speaking at a press conference later, Siva Subramaniam said that the injuries to the wrists did not require stitches and were not as serious as alleged.

“He only scratched his wrists,” he said.

Razors smuggled for shaving

According to Siva Subramaniam, Raja Azman had hurt himself using an “old and blunt razor”. No explanation was given as to the origins of the razor.

As to the razor blade which was swallowed, Raja Azman’s doctors said that it had exited through natural means.

When asked about the razor blade’s origin, Siva Subramaniam explained that it is common for old razors to be smuggled into prisons for shaving purposes.

He said the incident stemmed from Raja Azman’s animosity against a warden for putting him into seclusion for breaching a prison rule.

“Raja Azman  told us that he was dissatisfied and angry because he was put in isolation for scolding a warden,” Siva explained.

According to Siva, Raja Azman appeared “happy-go-lucky” and he had admitted that the injuries were self-inflicted because he was very upset then.

Siva explained that all procedures have been adhered to by the prison authorities in handling this incident.

“Raja Azman immediately rushed to the hospital, upon discovering that he was injured,” Siva said.

He added that doctors have confirmed that the inmate is healthy and has not sustained any internal injury nor was he suffering a mental breakdown.

Under observation

Also present at the press conference was prison director Narander Singh, who told reporters that all inmates are treated equally regardless of their status.

“However, Raja Azman will be observed more closely due to his past history of inflicting self-injuries,” Narander said.

He is now in the prison’s hospital ward for observation.

Raja Azman, who was held under remand in the prison since May 19 last year after failing to post bail, is facing four housebreaking and theft charges.

He swallowed a razor blade on Feb 8, 2010 and was admitted at the Sungai Buloh Hospital the same day. He was discharged two days ago.

Christine Chan/Mkini

Kelantan strikes back over KL’s oil ads

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 25, 2010 by ckchew
By Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — Fed-up with the federal government’s attempts to dodge out of paying oil royalties, the Kelantan state government is fighting fire with fire.

Earlier this week, Kelantan sent out copies of its eight-point stand of its claims for payments for oil produced off its coast to several Malay-language newspapers to counter the federal government’s eight arguments.

According to lawyer Tommy Thomas, a member of a team of lawyers engaged to act for the state government, the papers have yet to publish the state’s version.

The federal government had over the weekend taken out pages in Berita Minggu, Mingguan Malaysia and Sinar Harian listing eight reasons to deny Kelantan its claim.

“We disagree with the answers given in the recent advertisement made on behalf of the federal government,” Thomas said, and provided a copy of the state’s basis for its oil claims for contrast.

He noted that the Petroleum Development Act (PDA), which is the document referred to by both state and federal governments in the oil dispute, had come into force on Oct 1, 1974, and had set up Petronas, giving it rights to oil sourced from land or in waters in the country.

“Under the PDA, each of the 13 states signed identical agreements and vesting grants at different dates between 1975 and 1976 with Petronas, vesting their respective ownership of oil in Petronas,” the lawyer said, giving a brief background of the case.

The national oil company was to pay each state where oil was produced “a yearly sum equivalent to five per cent of the value of petroleum produced onshore and offshore of the state concerned”, Thomas added.

He also pointed out that Kelantan’s neighbour on the east, Terengganu, had received yearly payments for oil from the federal government from the start while the state was in the hands of the national coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN), but the payments stopped almost immediately after the state fell to PAS in 1999.

Kelantan’s response to the eight questions raised is reproduced below alongside the federal government’s answers to the same questions, for comparison.

1. According to the Petroleum Development Act 1974, what is the term used for payment made for oil and gas production?

State: The PDA, the 13 Agreements and the 13 Vesting Grants all use the term “cash payments”. The popular word used by all concerned is “royalty”. However, nothing turns on the description of the payment.

Federal: The term used is “cash payment” of 5 per cent. The word “royalty” is not being used anywhere in the Act.

2. According to the agreements between Petronas and the state government in 1975/1976, what are the requirements to entitle the state governments to the 5 per cent cash payments?

State: The terms used in the PDA, the 13 Agreements and the 13 Vesting Grants are “on-shore” and “off-shore” to denote petroleum produced from land (on-shore) and from water (off-shore). Neither the PDA, the 13 Agreements nor the 13 Vesting Grants contain any limitations on the right of any state to receive cash payments for petroleum produced off its coast based on the length from the coast. Hence, neither the PDA, the 13 Agreements nor the 13 Vesting Grants restrict the payment of cash payments for petroleum produced 3 miles, 12 miles, 200 miles or any other distance from the coast of the 13 states because distance is not specified in the PDA, the Agreements and the 13 Vesting Grants. Instead, the generic word “off-shore” is used.

The Emergency (Special Powers) Ordinance No. 1969 does not govern the ownership of petroleum, whether on-shore or off-shore. The Ordinance also does not deal with the legal obligations of Petronas to pay cash payments to a state where petroleum is produced on-shore or off-shore. Only the PDA does. Thus, the Ordinance is not the relevant law on the matter.

Federal: The oil or gas wells must be within the state boundaries, that is, the state land and its territory waters which is 3 nautical miles measured from the ebb level (Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No.7 1969).

3. Does the Kelantan state government or any other state governments in Peninsular Malaysia have the right to claim from Petronas the said cash payment?

State: Yes, provided petroleum is produced on-shore or off-shore the state concerned. Thus, in March 1978, Petronas informed Terengganu that petroleum had been produced in the Pulai oil field, which is located about 150 miles from the coast of Terengganu. In June 1978, Petronas made the first ever cash payment to Terengganu for petroleum produced off-shore Terengganu (in Pulai). For 22 successive years, that is, from 1978 to March 2000, Petronas made cash payments to Terengganu twice a year under the PDA, the Agreement and the Vesting Grant, although petroleum was produced hundreds of miles off-shore Terengganu. Only when PAS formed the state government of Terengganu after the general election of November 1999 did Petronas cease making cash payments to Terengganu, although Petronas is still producing petroleum off-shore Terengganu without paying Terengganu for it.

Federal: They have no right to do so as at this moment, all productive oil and gas wells in the peninsula are situated beyond the 3 nautical mile zone. Therefore, any production from the wells situated beyond state waters, which is beyond the 3 nautical mile zone, belongs to the federal government.

4. What is the position of Sabah and Sarawak on the issue of royalty payment?

State: Until the PDA came into force in October 1974, the legal basis of royalty payments to Sabah and Sarawak were laws passed by the British colonial power. After the PDA’s enactment and the establishment of Petronas, Sabah and Sarawak are treated in an identical manner as the peninsula states. Thus, the sole legal basis of payment of cash payments to Sabah and Sarawak since October 1974 is the PDA, their two Agreements and their two Vesting Grants. They are in the identical position with Kelantan, Terengganu and the other nine states of Peninsular Malaysia. All are treated equally under the PDA to avoid discrimination among the 13 states of Malaysia.

Federal: Before 1974, the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak already had their own positions on the royalty rights through enforcement of agreements as well as the enforcement of the Continental Shelf Act 1966. It is historic and special privileges acknowledged when they joined Malaysia in 1963.

5. What is meant with the payment of “Wang Ehsan”?

State: This is the political label invented by the Mahathir administration in 2000 when it directed Petronas to cease making cash payments to Terengganu after PAS formed the state government. The term “wang ehsan” has no legal basis. It is not found in the PDA, the 13 Agreements and the 13 Vesting Grants.

Federal: Wang Ehsan is a contribution or aid channelled to the states including Kelantan based on the discretion of the federal government. This contribution is beyond the scope/ jurisdiction of the Petroleum Development Act 1974 and the agreement signed between Petronas and the state government in 1975/1976. This aid is given solely based on the federal government’s awareness and responsibility for the welfare of the state and its people.

6. Why is the federal government offering Wang Ehsan to Kelantan in the amount of RM20 million only?

State: We cannot answer this question as it is a sum arbitrarily picked out by the federal government and without any legal basis.

Federal: The federal government is giving this allocation based on courtesy with regard to gas produced in federal waters. The Kelantan state government has no right in the area as it is outside the 3 nautical mile zone.

7. What is the position of the statement made by former Petronas chairman Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah that royalty should be paid to Kelantan based on the petroleum production obtained from outside the state waters as well as questioning the giving of the Wang Ehsan?

State: We support the recent public statement by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. Much weight must be given to Tengku Razaleigh as he was the first chairman of Petronas, and signed the 13 Agreements on behalf of Petronas with each of the state governments. He is very conversant with these matters. He also enjoyed the trust and confidence of the late Tun Abdul Razak, Malaysia’s 2nd Prime Minister, and the architect of our petroleum policy.

Federal: The statement by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Gua Musang MP, needs to be seen as a mere personal opinion from him. Any decision taken with regard to the right to royalty payment needs to be made in accordance with the relevant laws as well as agreements signed between Petronas and the state governments.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah needs to explain that the PAS Terengganu government cannot question the position of Wang Ehsan as the money that has been channelled all this while, although in the name of oil royalty, does not belong to the state.

He also stated that when Petronas was formed, there was no state in Peninsular Malaysia that had the right to the oil production found in the area outside the state’s “territory” (Bernama, Nov 1, 2000).

Although today Tengku Razaleigh had changed his position, the position of the law has still not changed. The people and the country are obliged to respect the laws of the country.

8. Is the opposition leader informed of the position of the rights of the state government in this issue?

State: Again, we cannot answer this question because Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the opposition, does not officially represent Kelantan in the petroleum royalty issue.

Federal: Based on the position of the existing provisions of law, the opposition leader is aware that the state government has no right to any cash payment or royalty in relation to the petroleum production which are being explored beyond state waters. That is why the opposition leader had once tried to make a resolution to amend the Petroleum Development Act 1974 in December 2009.

Therefore, the opposition leader himself is aware that the Kelantan state government has no right on any oil or gas wells within federal territory. MI

Anwar: Ini negeri rakyat punya!

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 23, 2010 by ckchew

Jawatankuasa Displin PR ditubuhkan

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 23, 2010 by ckchew