Archive for July, 2010

DAP expels ‘rouge councillor’ Tee

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 31, 2010 by ckchew

Klang municipal councillor Tee Boon Hock, who was alleged to have misused a Selangor exco member’s letterhead to secure contracts for his cronies and family, has been expelled from DAP.

National DAP disciplinary committee chairperson Tan Kok Wai made the announcement today following a meeting of the party’s powerful committee with Tee this afternoon.

Tan also announced that the party would be writing to the Selangor government to request that he be immediately removed as Klang municipal councillor.

Tee was reported to have misused Selangor exco member Ronnie Liu’s letter head and seal to obtain contracts worth a total of RM1 million for 20 companies, at least one of which belonged to a ‘family member’.

Tee had brought with him three witnesses – the business partner of his son Tee Chin Chin, a contractor from another company, and a DAP member – to the disciplinary committee hearing this afternoon.

In the press conference held at the DAP headquarters in Petaling Jaya, Tan said the disciplinary committee had studied all the documents relating to the allegations against Tee and verified that there was a basis to the allegations.

The committee was also informed by the party’s Selangor committee that at least one of the companies to which he had issued a letter of support was related to his son, said Tan, and this was done without Liu’s authority.

Tee’s explanation, that he did not know his son was a partner in the said company, was not sufficient to convince the committee that the acts done by him were justified, Tan added.

The committee therefore found that Tee had acted in serious breach of the party’s principles and in violation of the party’s constitution, said Tan.

“It has been the party’s firm and unyielding principle that all party leaders, particularly for those who hold public offices, must exercise their powers with integrity to uphold the general interest of the public as well as the good name of the party,” said Tan reading from the comittee’s letter to Tee.

“This (case) has no doubt seriously tarnished the reputation and image of the party. Such action could even constitute a criminal offence to be charged in court,” he added.

Police report to be lodged, council position uncertain

According to the party constitution, Tee has 14 days to appeal the disciplinary committee’s decision. Another hearing by the committee will be held to hear the contractors’ side of the story.

At least 15 companies have been identified as being involved in the scandal. The date for the hearing has yet to be determined, said Tan.

Liu, meanwhile, will be directed to lodge a police report on the matter to allow a full investigation by the police of any probable criminal wrongdoing, said Tan.

Tan also read out the committee’s press statement to the media and expressed the party’s objections in general to the practice of issuing “support letters for business or commercial purposes.”

While letters of support for welfare assistance, appeals of reductions of compound summons, application of hawkers’ licenses, education loans and scholarships are allowed as these are in the public interests, Tan said all elected and non-elected party officials are directed to henceforth refrain from issuing business support letters for commercial purposes.

“As a matter of best practice, this directive should apply across the board to all Pakatan Rakyat elected and non-elected officials as well. This is in line with Pakatan’s position of upholding the principle of good governance in state administration.

“At the same time, all Pakatan officials including state agencies should disregard all bussiness support letters that are issued to them in order to ensure that all commercial dealings are above-board and to avoid any negative public perception of malpractice or favourtism,” said Tan.

He also warned that the party would not hesitate to take action against any party official found to have breached the directive against issuing such letters.

“All party officials must maintain the highest standard of ethical conduct in all dealigs whether of a public or private nature. Only then can Pakatan continue to inspire the confidence of the public.”

Tee could not be contacted despite repeated attempts to reach him on his mobile phone.



Rakaman video: Dulu pasir lagi banyak dicuri

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

Nurul Izzah: We Continue To Fight The Oppression Committed By The BN Govt & Change Will Come

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

One Israel

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

One Israel atau ‘1Israel’ atau ‘Satu Israel’ adalah dibentuk oleh pemimpin Parti Buruh Israel Ehud Barak semasa Pilihan Raya Israel 1999 dengan tujuan untuk membuat Parti Buruh tampak lebih sederhana dan untuk mengurangkan reputasi imej sekular dan elitis di kalangan penyokong Mizrahi (Gesher dipimpin oleh ahli politik Mizrahi David Levy sementara Meimad ialah parti agama). Ia berasaskan tranformasi Tony Blair di Britain yang juga membentuk Parti Buruh Baru.

Perjanjian persefahaman itu meletakkan Gesher di belakang Ehud Barak dan Shimon Peres dan David Levy akan mendapat jawatan menteri. Meimad dijanjikan kedudukan menteri di parlimen Knesset.

Dalam pilihan raya itu, bancian menganggarkan parti buruh akan memenangi 33 kerusi. Malangnya, Satu Israel tidak muncul sebagai fraksi terbesar di Dewan Knesset kerana hanya memenangi 26 kerusi . Jumlah ini lebih rendah, sedangkan 34 kerusi dalam pilihan raya 1996. Dari 26 kerusi, Parti Buruh mendapat 22 kerusi, Parti Gesher 3 dan Meimad 1. Untuk memenuhi perjanjian pra-pilihan raya, Levy dilantik sebagai Timbalan Perdana Menteri dan Menteri Luar Negeri . Meimad Michael Melchior dilantik Menteri Sosial dan Hal Diaspora Israel.

Barak, yang telah menewaskan Binyamin Netanyahu dalam pemilihan Perdana Menteri Israel, telah membentuk kerajaan campuran yang tidak stabil. Enam parti kecil iaitu Shas, Meretz, Yisrael BaAliyah, Parti Tengah, Parti Agama Kebangsaan dan Kesatuan Taurah Yahudi.

Ehud Barak menyertai Perjanjian Kem David dengan Yasser Arafat pada musim panas 2000 menyebabkan Gesher menarik diri daripada perikatan pada 7 Mac 2001. Pada 7 Mei perikatan bergabung dengan Paksi Haluan Baru. Pada 15 Mei tahun 2001 ia dinamakan Parti Buruh-Meimad.

Setelah parti runtuh, Barak disiasat atas tuduhan berhubung Satu Israel yang telah melanggar undang-undang dana parti dengan membenarkan wang asing di bawa masuk sebagai dana kempen . Eliezer Goldberg didenda 13 juta Shekel kerana melanggar undang-undang dana.

Barak’s ‘One Israel’

By Tzvi Fleischer

Israeli Opposition Leader Ehud Barak has had a good couple of weeks. First, on March 4, he managed to put together the “One Israel” bloc, the linchpin of his plans to re-position his Labor party to gain more swing votes and deliver him government in the Israeli elections scheduled for May 17. Then, the results of an inquiry by the Israeli State Comptroller, released on March 15, cleared Barak of any improper conduct during the 1992 Tzeelim training accident, hopefully clearing him of allegations which have dogged his political career since he retired as IDF Chief of Staff to eventually become Foreign Minister under Shimon Peres in 1996. And finally, opinion polls have taken a turn for the better for Barak, moving him from a position where he was at best neck and neck with Prime Minister Netanyahu to a position where he seems to have opened up a lead over Netanyahu of at least five percentage points (although Israeli opinion polling is notoriously inaccurate).

Israeli political analysts have begun to rethink their political wisdom. A few weeks ago, the majority view was that, barring a major scandal or political shake-up, Netanyahu was more likely than not to retain government. Today, the majority view is that election results are at this point too close to call. However, so far Barak is doing everything right.

One Israel is a new electoral coalition of Labor, the Gesher party associated with former Likud Foreign Minister David Levy, and Meimad, a party that marries a religiously observant supporter base and dovish views on the peace process. Under agreements signed between the three, the combined One Israel list will see the Labor party list of candidates, established in party primaries last month, modified to include a number of candidates from the two other parties. Gesher is to get three safe positions for its candidates, including the Number 3 spot (behind Barak and former party leader Shimon Peres) for Levy, and a promise that Levy can have a senior ministerial position in any Barak government. Meimad receives one safe slot, one doubtful slot, and a promise that a Meimad leader who is not a Knesset member will be a cabinet minister. (Changes to Israeli electoral laws in 1992 make it permissible for up to half the Cabinet to non-elected.)

The One Israel concept has been pursued by Barak since last year as a way to make his candidacy more acceptable to the large number of Israelis who would never vote for Labor. For many Israelis, Labor has been seen as elitist, leftist, snobbish and dominated by European secular Jews (Ashkenazi) to the exclusion of both the large number of Israelis who hail from the Middle East and North Africa (Sephardi) and the religiously observant. One Israel has been Barak’s attempt to cure that stigma. It is an idea that is modelled on several forebears; one is Tony Blair’s transformation of the British Labour Party into “New Labour,” another is the “One Jerusalem” coalition developed by the long-serving Labor-aligned Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kolleck, which kept him in power for more than 20 years despite the unpopularity of the Labor party in the city generally.

The specific parties that One Israel brings into the Labor fold theoretically represent precisely those political sectors which have been most suspicious of Labor, and which Labor most needs to reach out to if it is to have any chance of securing government.

Levy and his Gesher movement offer Labor the opportunity to obtain greater support among Jews hailing from the Middle East and North Africa. Sephardim are generally poorer on average than Ashkenazim, often live in outlying areas with high unemployment, and generally resent what they see as the condescending attitude of the Ashkenazim who largely dominate the country’s elites. They also frequently blame Labor, in power from 1948 to 1977, for the poor economic conditions and social discrimination they experienced during the early years of the state.

Levy is of Moroccan origin, and himself the product of one of the poorer Sephardi neighbourhoods. He was originally a protege of Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin, but after Begin’s departure from the political scene, came into conflict with his successors, Shamir and Netanyahu, over social welfare for his constituents and his own ambitions within the Likud party. This eventually led to the formation of his Gesher party, first as a faction within the Likud and later as an independent party. Conflicts over Netanyahu’s failure to implement promised social spending led Levy to leave the governing coalition last year. Barak has been reaching out to Sephardi voters since his selection as Labor leader, for instance, by offering a public apology for Labor’s past policies, and clearly hopes that the addition of Levy and Gesher can win him some votes in the Sephardi sector.

One Israel faces significant competition for Sephardi votes from the Centre Party leader Yitzhak Mordechai, a Kurdish Sephardi, and the religious Shas party, which is able to garner almost all the religious Sephardi vote.

Meimad, it is also hoped, can attract some religious voters to Labor. Religious voters, who are about 20% of the Israeli population, are even less likely to vote for Labor than Sephardi voters. In many religious neighbourhoods in 1996, votes were 98% for Netanyahu, and only 2% for Labor leader Peres.

For its future political survival Labor must increase its vote among religious and Sephardi Israelis because demographics are against the Labor party. Political analysts say that changes in Israeli population demographics have made the right-left divide in the Israel population approximately 55%-45% since the late 1970s. And since this period, the Likud has come out ahead in most of the elections. Furthermore, the faster population growth in the religious and Sephardi communities, as well as the influx of immigrants from the Soviet Union, is making matters worse for Labor as time passes. Unless Labor can re-position itself to capture larger segments of these three communities, it may gradually drift into perpetual opposition and political irrelevance.

This is one reason that, unusually for Israel and despite being Israel’s most decorated General, Barak has chosen to focus on social issues as the centrepiece of his campaign. While Netanyahu hammers his ability to protect Israel’s security in radio and television interviews, Barak has used many election appearances as opportunities to tell stories about elderly women unable to get hospital treatment, and about the effects of unemployment on families, and to promise remedies. His hope is to gain a “hip-pocket vote” from some segments of the Sephardi community, and as part of this process he needs to overcome the stigma against voting Labor to do it.

Levy, in part, gives Barak this opportunity and he was quick to exploit it. Within days of the signing of the One Israel agreement, Levy and Barak were out campaigning together in several poor towns with a heavily Sephardi population, normally Likud heartland.

However, there are some positive signs. Barak’s success in getting his One Israel project off the ground seems to be reflected in improved poll numbers. Polls in late February had placed Barak barely neck and neck in a one-on-one contest with Netanyahu. A poll on March 13 showed Barak ahead on two party preferred by 5%. And Barak also continues to increase his lead over the third major candidate, former Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai of the new Centre Party.

On top of the One Israel success and the positive polls, Barak seemed particularly pleased with the results of report by Israel’s State Comptroller, an independent auditing and investigation body, into the 1992 Tzeelim II training accident. Barak was accused by some of the families of the 5 soldiers killed at Tzeelim of having fled the scene in his helicopter without seeing to wounded soldiers or taking one severely wound man, who later died, with him, and in newspapers reports of possibly having orchestrated an army cover-up of the circumstances behind the incident. When the report was released on March 15, Barak told the media “The blood libel to which I fell victim for several years, as a man and as chief of staff, comes to an end today.” The report exonerates him of both charges: it found that he did not leave until after all the wounded had been evacuated, and that there had been no cover-up.

Still, despite the gains of the past two weeks, there are almost two months until polling day, and likely, a further run-off poll to decide the Prime Ministership will be required two weeks after that. Despite his current poll lead, Israeli political experts do not rate Barak’s chances as more than even because there is still a large undecided segment, and the majority of undecided voters are aligned with the Israeli right and most likely to vote as they have in previous elections. Both these facts indicate that most of these votes will go to Netanyahu.

It is also the case that Prime Minister Netanyahu has been a much better media performer than Barak. It remains unclear whether Barak can overcome this clear disadvantage in the long run, especially as the fight for undecided voters heats up.

Furthermore, other parties have been moving to form alliances to counter Barak’s One Israel. The small right-wing Herut party of Benny Begin, the son of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, has set up a joint electoral list with two other small right-wing parties, Moledet and Tkuma. Likud is talking to the right-wing Tsomet party, led by another former IDF Chief-of-Staff Raful Eitan, which is also likely to include some defectors from Gesher who did not follow Levy into the One Israel combination.

Barak has had a couple of good weeks, and the truth is, he badly needed them. Whether he can sustain his current momentum into an election victory on May 17 is still very much an open question.

Rakaman video Tian Chua: Keadilan Melaka AMK Dinner, 16/07/2010 – bn flip flop tidak berani hadapi PRK di Parlimen Batu & bn flip flop tolak jawatan pengerusi PAC Sgor menunjukkan bn takut pada ketelusan

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 24, 2010 by ckchew

Country in the red as 2009 FDI nosedives 81%

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

A nosedive in foreign direct investments in Malaysia in 2009 follows a continued downward trend in FDI, increasingly overshadowed by regional players, noted a United Nations report.

According to the World Investment Report 2010 unveiled today, FDI plunged 81 percent from US$7.32 billion (RM23.47 billion*) in 2008 to just US$1.38 billion (RM4.43 billion) last year.

(*Calculated based on exchange rate of US$1 = RM3.20650)

The 2009 FDI is less than half of the annual average FDI inflow between 1995 to 2005, which encompasses the long recovery period following the 1997 economic crisis.

Malaysia’s performance also pales in comparison with neighbouring economies like Thailand and Indonesia whose FDI figures did not contract as severely, despite the global financial crisis.

Thailand suffered a decline of US$4.44 billion (RM14.24 billion) while Indonesia saw a more modest drop of US$2.60 billion (RM8.32 billion) in foreign investments in 2009.

The severe dip also places Malaysia in the red for the first time in the last 15 years, with figures for cumulative FDI (see chart right) surpassing incoming investments by about US$1 billion (RM3.21 billion).

Doubts over high income target

Speaking at the UN Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today, Universiti Malaya economist Rajah Rasiah  said that Malaysia’s poor performance casts doubts over whether it can achieve the targets set to achieve high income status.

“Malaysia is fortunate to be in a good neighbourhood, located among growing countries. The three largest recipients of FDI are located in Asia (but) Malaysia does not even make the top 10 list of recipients,” he said.

He added that this is remarkable for a country with a specific FDI policy, unlike Taiwan which is placed 10th in the list.

Conversely, Malaysia is “doing well in FDI outflows”, ranking fifth in the list of South, East and Southeast Asian countries investing abroad.

“Speaking to fund managers, I get the impression that we have the resources to invest locally but not many viable options to do so. Even local investors find us less attractive,” he said.

Human capital a barrier

The main stumbling block, he said, remains our narrow human capital pool which leaves industries stagnating in low-end production.

He added that while foreign investor laud the ease of doing business in Malaysia, a lack of skilled labour, research and development and technological capabilities is placing the country on the losing end of the increasingly competitive FDI battle.

Malaysia has 300 to 400 science and technology workers for every 100,000 persons, as opposed to 3,000 in countries which made the transition from middle to high income status, he said.

Similarly, the country is under-investing in research and development at only 0.64 percent of GDP, while others like Taiwan and South Korea are investing about 3 percent of theirs.

It should also look at mirroring such nations in developing a “vetting mechanism” for FDI to ensure that the investments can be a catalyst for human capital and technology development.

This will include screening FDI by choosing those with technologies that could be upgraded along the value chain and monitoring to ensure a transfer of expertise takes place.

“We allow foreign firms in by giving grants and tax incentives, so we must ensure that spillovers (in terms of technology transfers) occur,” he said.

The bottom 40 percent of the population should also be assisted insofar as developing their skills to meet the shortage in industry.

“In assisting the lower income population, we should look at developing skills like precision engineering and die casting, which are sought after by foreign investors,” he said.

Aidila Razak/Mkini

Ghost of Altantuya & Bala return’s: Private eye Bala’s reply handed to MACC

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 22, 2010 by ckchew

Private investigator P Balasubramaniam’s reply to a list of questions to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has been submitted today, in the form of a statutory declaration.

Americk Singh Sidhu , who arrived at the commission’s headquarters in Putrajaya this afternoon, said they will also be consulting the MACC on whether the information can be divulged to the public.

This was necessary as the questions, that were sent to Balasubramaniam in London two weeks ago, were marked as secrets.

“As you can see, it (answers) has been all notarised in London by a notary public, but let’s see what happens first,” he said, showing a thick volume of documents.

‘Pleasantly surprised’ by cooperation

After the meeting, Americk said they were “pleasantly surprised” by the MACC’s cooperation in the case.

He said the investigating officers, led by Abdul Rahman Bachok, had given an assurance that the commission is working towards completing their investigations as soon as possible.

“We had a very pleasant meeting inside, we gave them all the documents and they acknowledged receipt, and they seem quite keen to ensure that the investigations are completed as fast as possible.

“All of us were quite pleasantly surprised with the cooperation that appears to be forthcoming from the MACC, so let’s hope something is done,” said Americk.

The SD contained answers to a total of 52 questions from the MACC, plus additional information on the various alleged payments made to Bala.

Americk however did not specify what alleged payments his client was referring to.

He said it took Bala three days in London to finish answering all 52 questions.

“We were told that they were done with the other witnesses and Bala was the last witness… So hopefully something will come out of it now.”

Americk noted however that while there is no obvious restriction to release Bala’s answers publicly, they see no reason to reveal the contents of his SD “at this moment”.

“I think it is best to let the MACC conclude the investigations.”

He said they do not expect to be recalled, though he did not discount the possibility that the MACC may want to seek further clarification after going through Bala’s answers.

Answers ‘not intended to be admissible’

Americk stressed that Bala’s latest SD is not intended to be admissible in court, but to help in the commission’s investigations.

He added that they will not jump the gun by assuming that this case will be taken to court.

“We are assuming too much at the moment. First of all they have to make a decision, whether or not there will be a prosecution.

“And if so, who to prosecute? Unless we get to that stage first, it is a secondary issue, who they call as witnesses,” said Americk.

When asked if Bala would come back to Malaysia, Americk said he is more than willing, provided his safety is guaranteed.

“Basically his family and he are protected, so that he doesn’t receive future threats,” he said when asked to elaborate.

“That’s understandable. He’s very apprehensive about being here at the moment and that’s why he’s in India.”

Break-in ‘unusual’

Meanwhile, senior counsel Manjeet Singh Dhillon said police made a sweep of his house and recovered fingerprints while investigating the recent break-in at his house.

He commended the job by the police forensics team who also found a cigarette and DNA evidence.

Manjeet, who returned from London where he was advising Bala on the MACC’s initial plan to interview him there, said he would not make any assumptions that the break-in was linked to his involvement in Bala’s case.

He however, noted that the timing was ‘unusual’.

“When I went to Singapore, they threw a Molotov cocktail. When I went to London, my house was broken into.

“So when you put all these things together, it’s unusual,” he said.

Joseph Sipalan/Mkini