The entrance of the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya is pictured on November 19, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara
KOTA KINABALU, Dec 10 — Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal will be declaring his assets to the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission soon, he said, after it was reported that he was among 13 MPs who have yet to do so.The Parti Warisan Sabah president said that he had previously declared his assets to the MACC when he was being investigated for graft late last year, but said he was fine with doing it again.“I’ve already declared it before during my MACC time, but I guess this time it’s for Parliament. It’s ok, I will do it again,” he said when asked by reporters here today.Shafie said that he had owned up to owning some shares and would fulfill his requirement again.“I am short of time, but that is not the reason. We cannot give excuses, I will do it soon. There is nothing to hide,” he said.Recently, MACC Deputy Chief Commissioner (Prevention) Datuk Shamsun Baharin Mohd Jamil said 13 MPs from Pakatan and Pakatan-friendly parties have yet to publicly declare their assets.He said the MACC was in the process of proposing a new law that would make it mandatory for all politicians to declare their assets, expected to be tabled in April.Other Pakatan MPs who have yet to publicly declare their assets are Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (Port Dickson), Datuk Rozman Isli (Labuan), Dr Michael Teo (Miri), Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu (Tambun), Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau (Tuaran), Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali (Bagan Serai), Datuk Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid (Kapar), Datuk Seri Dr Edmund Santhara (Segamat), Datuk Dr Shahruddin Md Salleh (Sri Gading), Ali Biju (Saratok) and Awang Husaini Sahari (Putatan). [...]
Ramkarpal said the current system of appointing local councillors raises the concern of potential abuse by the government. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — There is no danger of racial clashes if Malaysia decides to bring back the “third vote” or local government elections instead of having government appointees, DAP MP Ramkarpal Singh said today.Ramkarpal said this was because Malaysians under ‘Malaysia Baharu’ would be selecting local councillors based on their abilities and not their race.“The reservation expressed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that local elections ought not to be held as they may lead to racial conflict and widen the urban-rural divide is, with respect, misplaced as there can be no danger of that in today’s Malaysia and furthermore, is a mere assumption in his part,” the Bukit Gelugor MP who is also DAP’s national legal bureau said in a statement today.Ramkarpal said that Malaysians will be able to choose their own local councillors based on information on whether the candidates have proven themselves.“The question of his/her race in the selection process cannot be a consideration, as if it was, then all elections, whether for MPs or ADUNs, would be, similarly, racial.“Such a mindset ought not to be considered any longer in our new Malaysia as the merits and capabilities of a particular candidate ought to be the priority in the selection of local councillors,” he added.Ramkarpal said the current system of appointing local councillors raises the obvious criticism of potential abuse by the government in “selecting their own people to further their own agenda”.“I cannot see anything wrong in reintroducing local council elections as it was a part of our system in the past,” he said of the third vote which was discontinued by the government in the 1960s.“It is hoped that the Federal government seriously reconsiders its position on this as ultimately, the people should be given the right to elect those who they want as councillors, the same way they elected their MPs and ADUNs, and it cannot be assumed that they would elect those councillors based on race which may lead to conflict,” he added.Peaceful Malaysians can unite over local council elections
Mahathir had earlier said that local elections ought not to be held as they may lead to racial conflict and widen the urban-rural divide. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Polls reform watchdog Bersih 2.0 today argued that Dr Mahathir’s worries of potential racial conflicts if Malaysia restores local government elections was “speculative”, noting that Malaysians have managed to have peaceful transitions of power in elections as well as peaceful rallies.“In fact, we have not experienced any racial conflict following changes of state governments since 2008, change of federal government in 2018 as well as during Bersih and Anti-ICERD rallies. The PH government should give due recognition to Malaysians, who are rational and non-violence oriented,” it said in a statement today.Bersih 2.0 also argued that it was “untrue” that non-Malays would be dominating local government elections, pointing out that the population in urban areas has changed significantly since the 1960s.“For example, according to the 2010 census data, the Malay population in Kuala Lumpur, stood at 49.5 per cent, outnumbering the population of Chinese, which was 43.2 per cent.“There is also no question as well that most of the local governments in the rural areas of the Peninsular would be represented by Malays in majority if elections are held,” it added.Bersih 2.0 also said that any concerns of communal strife could easily be addressed by using other types of electoral systems such as proportional representation systems, which would ensure “fair representation” of all communities in local councils.Bersih 2.0 said bringing back local council elections could even “unite” Malaysia’s different ethnic groups over common concerns on local issues that affect their daily lives and transform how local councils are being managed.Bersih 2.0 contrasted the third vote with the current situation where ruling political parties appoint local councillors, claiming that many are unqualified and not accountable to the local community that they are supposed to serve and that it allows for potential corruption.“Furthermore, such political appointments reinforce and perpetuate a culture of patronage that breeds corruption and abuses of power throughout the country.“This is a legacy left behind by the previous government and the new Pakatan Harapan government should seize the opportunity to break free from such corrupt culture,” Bersih 2.0 said.Highlighting that taxpayers have the right to have a say in the management of their local councils through the third vote, Bersih 2.0 also urged the prime minister to keep an open mind on the matter and allow discussions and debates among stakeholders to find the best solution.Mayors are also currently appointed by the government.Local council elections were once held between 1951 and 1965, but were suspended almost 50 years ago in 1965 because of the Indonesian Confrontation.The then-prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman had promised the Dewan Rakyat that local government elections would be restored once the Confrontation was over, but this did not happen despite the end of Confrontation in 1966. [...]
NEW DELHI (Dec 10): India's central bank governor Urjit Patel abruptly resigned on Monday, citing personal reasons, after a prolonged public spat between the institution... [...]
Johor’s Pulau Kukup should not be developed and should be maintained as a mangrove forest reserve, says Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
As for a comment by the Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim that “outsiders” should not meddle in state land affairs, the premier says the government should not be considered an outsider.
Yesterday, the Johor crown prince criticised Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar for insisting that the status of Johor's Pulau Kukup as a national park must be retained. [...]
Baru Bian said data analysis and recommendations would include reduction of toll rates in the short, medium and long term. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — The Works Ministry will appoint an independent auditor early next month to assist the government in preparing data analysis and recommendations pertaining to the issue of toll collection.Its Minister Baru Bian said data analysis and recommendations would include reduction of toll rates in the short, medium and long term.“On October 31, the Cabinet, after considering the direction of toll collection in the country, has agreed to appoint an independent auditor.“The analysis results are expected to be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration and consent in May next year,” he said at the Dewan Rakyat sitting today.He said this in his reply to a question from R. Sanisvara Nethaji Rayer (Pakatan Harapan-Jelutong) who wanted to know when the government would be expected to stop toll collection at the First Penang Bridge and North-South Expressway as promised in the 14th general election manifesto.Baru said the Pakatan Harapan government had always been looking for the best solution to reduce highway toll rates and eventually to abolish toll collections on all highways including the North-South Expressway and Penang Bridge, but it would only be implemented once the country’s finances stabilised. — Bernama [...]
Barisan Nasional MPs walk out of Dewan Rakyat in a show of protest in Parliament December 10, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — Barisan Nasional (BN) parliamentarians abandoned Parliament again today after Deputy Speaker Datuk Rashid Hasnon ordered two among them to leave after an argument broke out over Datuk Sivarraajh Chandran’s status as a federal lawmaker.The incident happened when the disputed Cameron Highlands MP entered the hall to loud approval from his BN peers.The Speaker had sent Sivarraajh out last week after RSN Rayer (PH - Jelutong) highlighted the Election Court’s decision to annul the Cameron Highlands result from the general election due to vote buying.
Datuk C. Sivarraajh speaks to reporters in Parliament December 10, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
When Sivarraajh entered today, Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN - Pasir Salak) and Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (BN - Kinabatangan) demanded Rayer apologise for causing the expulsion last week.Rashid told the BN lawmakers to let the matter go but Bung insisted that Rayer apologise and withdraw his remarks from last Wednesday, interrupting Sivarraajh who was then thanking his fellow lawmakers and the Speaker for allowing his re-entry.Tajuddin then joined Bung to demand the apology and said the sitting must not continue until Rayer offered one.This triggered a shouting match between the two and Pakatan Harapan (PH) lawmakers such as Wong Hon Wai (Bukit Bendera) and Cha Kee Chin (Rasah).
Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman and Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan sit on the floor in Parliament December 10, 2018, after walking out of Dewan Rakyat in a show of protest. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Rayer then insisted he was correct to alert the Speaker about Sivarraajh’s disputed status, which triggered nearly 10 minutes of shouting from BN lawmakers after Rashid turned their microphones off.Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (BN - Arau) tried to mediate by saying both parties should apologise but Rayer rejected this.This led Shahidan to say that Sivarraajh should be compensated for the two days he was denied entry into the Dewan, which led to further arguments.The deputy Speaker then ordered Tajuddin and Bung Mokhtar out of the hall. They were swiftly followed by all BN MPs, with Shahidan the last to leave.
Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman and Datuk Bung Moktar Radin walk out of Dewan Rakyat in a show of protest in Parliament December 10, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Outside the Dewan Rakyat, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN - Bera) said the decision to send out Tajuddin and Bung was biased.“Even though [Sivarraajh] was allowed to enter the Dewan now, he was unable to do so for two days when the Speaker made his initial ruling.“Now that the Speaker has reversed his decision, all we asked was for [Rayer] to apologise and retract his statement which caused the barring in the first place,” he said in Parliament lobby after the walkout. [...]
PRAGUE/PARIS: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian dismissed Donald Trump’s comments on the Yellow Vests protests in Paris, saying the US president shouldn’t meddle in France’s affairs.
Oh said Dr Mahathir’s claims that local elections will create racial conflicts are far-fetched and unconvincing. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
GEORGE TOWN, Dec 10 — Gerakan deputy president Oh Tong Keong today described Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s announcement that local council elections are not part of the government's agenda as another policy "U-turn" by the Pakatan Harapan administration.He said the current administration's refusal to restore local elections is extremely disappointing.“Reviving local government elections was one of the major highlights outlined in the PH manifesto,” he said in a statement today.Oh said the Housing and Local Government Minister has repeatedly given assurances that local council elections will be held in three year's time after the country's finances and economy stabilises.“Unfortunately, it seems that the government's excuses have just been renewed and the public now have to brace themselves for yet another policy U-turn by PH,” he said.Oh said Dr Mahathir’s claims that local elections will create racial conflicts are far-fetched and unconvincing.“The impact of a local government election in interracial relations is minuscule compared to a general election,” he said.He pointed out that even the recent anti-ICERD rally was held peacefully and proved that the society is matured and ready for local elections.“Concern for race and religious conflicts is not an excuse to delay or abandon the aspiration or plan to restore local elections for greater democracy,” he said.Oh, who is also Penang Gerakan chairman, accused PH of being insincere in its promise to restore the third vote.He said this is similar to the PH government’s various promises and handling of issues such as the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) issue, the abolishment of draconian laws, toll abolishment, recognition of Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) and many more.He called on the government to stop “giving more excuses” for not delivering on its promises.“The hope and plan for 'Malaysia Baru' is earning a bad name with a series of U-turns by the PH government,” he said.Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, in a statement, said the state government has done all it could to try to restore the local elections over the last few years but to no avail.“PH made an electoral promise to restore local government election as we shall be guided by the manifesto,” he said.He stressed that it is now for the federal government to take the necessary action. [...]
PPBM president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin arrives at PICC for the Pakatan Harapan charity dinner December 9, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today said the anti-International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) rally held in the city centre yesterday was not a setback to the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government as claimed by certain quarters, but a step forward.Muhyiddin, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) president, said he was informed by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun that the rally went smoothly without an incident for the first time in history.“As we are aware of yesterday’s rally, it went smoothly without any arrest.“Compared to the rallies organised during the previous Barisan Nasional administration which I believe many of us were part of, there were obstacles preventing certain individuals from speaking.“Yet yesterday was proof that Malaysia Baharu under Pakatan Harapan and the leadership of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad upholds the principles of democracy to allow Malaysians the right to free speech,” he said during his speech at Pakatan Harapan’s maiden charity dinner here at Putrajaya International Convention Centre here.
Ancom Berhad chairman Datuk Siew Ka Wei and Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah are seen during the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Charity Dinner at PICC December 9, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Muhyiddin said this was a step forward in allowing Malaysians to voice their opinions no matter their background.“I am stating this because Pakatan Harapan’s goals are very clear and it is important to remember that the government upholds the right to free speech within the confines of the law,” he said.Umno and PAS yesterday covered the streets of Kuala Lumpur and the historic Dataran Merdeka in a sea of white as a ‘thanksgiving’ rally on the government’s decision not to ratify the United Nations convention.City police chief Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim had said that 55,000 participants were present at the rally, and the programme went on smoothly and safely without any undesirable events.Among the Opposition leaders present at the event were former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang. [...]