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Look at Penang South Reclamation project more objectively, says state exco
Penang state health executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin said the Penang South Reclamation project should be viewed more objectively and it should not be dismissed without due consideration. — Picture by K.E.Ooi GEORGE TOWN, May 26 —  The Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project should be viewed more objectively and it should not be dismissed without due consideration, said the State Health, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry and Rural Development Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin.He said the state has always followed the legal process and reviewed all reports from experts and relevant departments to find the best formula to reduce the negative impacts on the environment and fishermen.According to him, SRS Consortium has conducted a series of discussions and meetings with fishermen to obtain their views since the issues on the PSR project were raised.“There is no benefit to cancel the PSR, it is better to discuss how the project can be implemented by giving minimum impact to the environment. I see PSR is able to create new economic opportunities here.“I have met and discussed with youths here, they want to work in Penang but the job opportunities in other cities are more attractive than what is being offered here,” he told reporters after launching Ops Raya by the Community Emergency Response Team George Town (CERT George Town) here today.He was commenting on the claim by an environmental group that more than 6,000 fishermen in northern Perak will be affected by the proposed PSR project.On May 21, the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM) chairman Muhammad Faiz Fadzil said they are waiting for the report from the state government pertaining to the claim.Dr Afif said the state government through SRS Consortium met Muhammad Faiz recently to explain the process and projects which will be carried out in addressing fishermen’s welfare and other related issues.The PSR project was planned by the Penang state government to finance the Penang Transport Master Plan, which is expected to cost RM49 billion, to solve traffic congestion problems. It involves development projects on 1,800 hectares of three man-made islands which are expected to compete with Marina Bay in Singapore. — Bernama [...]
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Govt committed to strengthening Malaysia-China ties, says PM
Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad before the bilateral meeting of the Second Belt and Road Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing April 25, 2019. — Reuters pic KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — The new Malaysian government that came to power in May last year is committed to strengthening Malaysia-China relations with even closer and more meaningful co-operation, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.The trade and investment growth between the two countries in recent years had been meteoric and this trend would continue to generate more opportunities in the areas of tourism, science and technology as well as cultural exchanges, he said in a message in the souvenir book published by the Malaysia-China Friendship Association, or better known as PPMC, to mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.Dr Mahathir said if in the initial stages, it was more of government-to-government relations, the partnership had scaled numerous levels and chalked up milestones that today made China to be Malaysia’s biggest trade partner.“China’s astonishing growth in the last few decades that catapulted it to become the world’s second biggest economy had contributed much to its extensive presence not only in Malaysia but in other parts of the world.“Our cooperation has grown at various levels and sectors. I believe apart from the roles played by government and political leaders, the various associations and non-governmental organisations from both nations, including PPMC, have contributed much to the strong and positive state of affairs enjoyed by both our countries,” he said.The prime minister said it was in June 1993 when he witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding between PPMC and its sister organisation, the China-Malaysia Friendship Association, in Beijing during one of his many official visits to China.“I wish to congratulate PPMC for being able to sustain the friendship through all these years and in fact, taking it to a higher level,” he said.Dr Mahathir said despite changes of leadership in both countries, the partnership had remained constant through the years, thanks to their adherence to the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and striving to be good neighbours.“I have always believed in the principle of ‘prosper thy neighbour’ and as China prospered, it has in turn prospered Malaysia as well,” he added.On China’s Belt and Road initiative, the prime minister said Malaysia had taken the position of supporting it for the benefits were mutually shared and distributed and for Malaysia, it was a continuation of the ancient trade that started way back during the Malacca empire and trading between both countries had never diminished for centuries.PPMC was formed in 1992 with active members comprising of entrepreneurs, investors, academicians, artists, educationists, politicians and professionals, as well as government officials sharing mutual interest in wanting to see a strong and sustained friendship, understanding and partnership between Malaysia and China.In April 2005, veteran diplomat and former Malaysian Ambassador to China Datuk Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan was elected PPMC president and he still holds the office till today. — Bernama [...]
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Umno-PAS cooperation won’t last, says Husam
A woman walks past Umno, Barisan Nasional and PAS flags in Pekan Kuala Sawah, Rantau April 10, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa PASIR MAS, May 26 — Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) has questioned whether the cooperation between PAS and Umno through the joint charter that expected to be signed after Hari Raya Aidilfitri was to seek political power only.“We are waiting for the announcement of the joint charter before making any more comment,” said its vice-president Datuk Husam Musa.However, he believed the PAS and Umno cooperation would not last long enough to form a strong opposition force against the Pakatan Harapan.“It does not mean that the charter (when signed) will strengthen the relationship between the two parties although the idea is good,” he said after attending the breaking of fast and aid distribution to asnaf from Rantau Panjang at LLY Loyalty Logistics Sdn Bhd, Rantau Panjang, here, last night.On the LLY Loyalty Logistics factory, Husam described it as a new development to bolster the Kelantan economy as the factory would serve as a warehouse to store import and export goods.“It can encourage maritime trade between Kelantan and the neighbouring countries and facilitate importers and exporters who have yet to obtain approval from the Royal Malaysian Customs Department to do so,” he said. — Bernama [...]
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Stolen NSA hacking tool now victimizing US cities, report says     – CNET
The EternalBlue hacking exploit, already used in the infamous WannaCry and NotPetya attacks, has now surfaced in the NSA's own backyard, says The New York Times. [...]
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Pakatan should catch corrupt ‘sharks’ now, says Kit Siang
General view of the 212th Police Day Parade at the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) in Kuala Lumpur March 25, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — DAP leader Lim Kit Siang called today for a crackdown on corruption in the police force in Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) second year in office.The Iskandar Puteri MP highlighted surveys since 1997 that consistently perceived the police as being the most corrupt among government agencies and authority figures in Malaysia.“Let the first year of the Pakatan Harapan government in Putrajaya be the year of the kleptocrats while the second year be the year against sharks in the war against corruption,” said Lim in a statement.“It has taken the police high command 15 years to assume leadership of effective change management to be role models in the programmes to eradicate corruption in PDRM (Royal Malaysia Police) — as evident by the police change of heart in their support of the IPCMC (Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission) and the crackdown against corruption in the police force.”New Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador, who came into office on May 3, has supported the establishment of the IPCMC that has long been opposed by the force.“The crackdown against corruption in the police force will have a salutary effect on ensuring integrity in the public service — a vindication of my earlier warning that it is a great mistake to think that the corruption trials of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and a few kleptocrats of the former administration signify that Malaysia is firmly on the road to becoming a top nation of integrity,” said Lim. [...]
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Bukit Aman team “managed to get something” in Deloitte raid, says IGP
By SHAZNI ONG / pic by ARIF KARTONO Inspector-general of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador (picture) said that the team from the Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) had gathered the relevant documents needed to facilitate investigation into the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) as a result of the raid at Deloitte Malaysia’s office yesterday. He, however, said that he had not been briefed on the raid by the investigators. “Surely, I think that (the) mission at Deloitte was to search for certain documents and to check on the records of their dealings, dating in relations to the 1MDB case. “I believe that they (raiding team) have gotten something out of that… but I have not been briefed yet. “I believe there are a lot of things that they got from that so called raid,” he told reporters after launching the Op Selamat 15/2019 in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Kuala Lumpur today. Yesterday, the police raided Deloitte Malaysia’s office in what is believed to be an operation related to 1MDB’s investigations. According to sources, the CCID team was dispatched to the accounting firm’s office in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. “The team conducted the operation to check records and search for documents related to 1MDB. There were at least three unmarked police cars. The police were in the boardroom,” a source who had knowledge of the raid had told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR). It was reported that CCID acting director Datuk Saiful Azly Kamaruddin confirmed the raid, saying that it was related to the 1MDB case but no arrest was made. Deloitte, in an email reply to TMR, said the police were at its offices to seek assistance in providing records related to 1MDB. The operation yesterday came four months after Deloitte was slapped a maximum fine of RM2.2 million by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) over infringements related to 1MDB’s subsidiary, Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s (BMSB) Islamic notes. The SC imposed the RM2.2 million penalty on Deloitte in January for four breaches under the country’s Capital Markets and Services Act 2007 (CMSA). The infringements were related to BMSB’s RM2.4 billion sukuk issued in 2014. Deloitte was the statutory auditor for BMSB and 1MDB Real Estate Sdn Bhd (1MDB RE) for their fiscal years ended March 31, 2015, to 2016. 1MDB RE, which is now known as TRX City Sdn Bhd, was one of the third-party security providers of the sukuk. The action by the SC last January made Deloitte the first auditing firm to be charged in relation to 1MDB. It was reported that the SC was investigating KPMG and Deloitte over the two firms’ audit of 1MDB. Deloitte was the third audit firm among the “Big Four” that appraised 1MDB’s finances before it quit in 2016 after the US Department of Justice filed lawsuits to recover assets acquired with funds stolen from 1MDB. Before Deloitte, Ernst & Young appraised the scandal-ridden sovereign wealth fund in 2010 before it was fired. KPMG took the baton and audited 1MDB between 2010 and 2012. The audit firm was also sacked. Last year, PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed by the new Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to review and audit 1MDB finances, weeks after the new government took over office following the May 9 general election victory. The post Bukit Aman team “managed to get something” in Deloitte raid, says IGP appeared first on The Malaysian Reserve. [...]
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Umno-PAS cooperation won't last, says Husam
PASIR MAS (Bernama): Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) has questioned whether the cooperation between PAS and Umno through a joint charter that is expected to be signed after Hari Raya Aidilfitri was merely to seek political power. [...]
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China's top banking regulator says yuan bears will suffer 'heavy losses'
BEIJING: China's banking and insurance regulator said on Saturday it did not expect a persistent decline in the yuan and warned speculative short sellers they would suffer "heavy losses" if they bet against the currency. [...]
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Breakup isn’t the answer, Facebook’s Zuckerberg says
In this file photo taken May 1, 2018 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose McEnery Convention Centre in San Jose, California. — AFP pic SAN FRANCISCO, May 24 — Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg yesterday rejected the idea of breaking up the social media giant as off-target, saying it could hamper the fight against deceit and harmful online content.The Facebook co-founder’s defence of the leading social network came as it reported it recently disabled billions of bogus accounts set up by “bad actors” and that five percent of active accounts are likely fakes.Facebook and its family of apps including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp face competition around the world from rivals such as Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat and others in a “competitive and dynamic environment,” Zuckerberg said.The company does not rule the digital advertising market, which is topped by Google, he noted.“I think arguments that we are in some sort of dominant position there might be a little stretched,” Zuckerberg said on a conference call about its latest content policy enforcement report.“The question is, what problems are you trying to solve?”He argued that breaking up the company might mean fewer resources to curb harmful online content and election interference and improve privacy and the portability of personal data.“Those are the most important social issues right now, and I don’t think breaking up the company is going to address those,” Zuckerberg said.“As a matter of fact, I think it is going to make it harder.”Facebook’s success has enabled it to invest heavily in artificial intelligence and workers to watch for rule-breaking content and activity at the social network, according to Zuckerberg.“The degree to which the success of this company has allowed us to fund these efforts for safety is massive,” Zuckerberg said.“We are able to do things that are not possible for other folks to do.”Facebook announced separately it is creating an independent board to act as a final court of appeals or sorts for disputes about content taken down at the social network.Decisions of the board will be binding, with Facebook promising to abide by outcomes.Zuckerberg referred to the independent advisory board and said he cared deeply about people’s freedom of expression when asked about the White House setting up a website to collect input from people who feel they have been unfairly censored on social media.Spammer onslaughtFacebook disabled 2.19 billion accounts in the first quarter of this year, nearly double the number of accounts nixed in the prior three-month period, according to vice president of integrity Guy Rosen.“The amount of accounts we took action on increased due to automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time,” Rosen said.Facebook disabled most of the accounts as automated imposters were trying to establish them or shortly after they were made, according to Rosen.The bulk of the fake accounts were the work spammers using automated systems, and with an apparent end-goal of making money, Facebook executives said.The leading social network, meanwhile, estimated that 5 per cent of its 2.4 billion monthly active users were fake accounts yet to be uncovered.The California-based company also said it has made progress in battling hate speech, automatically detecting 65 per cent of the content removed instead of needing to wait for users to report it.Facebook took down four million posts considered hate speech in the first quarter of this year and continues to invest in technology to better detect such material in various languages and regions, according to Rosen.The social network also said that it has booted more than 200 white supremacist organisations.Facebook reported progress in efforts to prevent the social network from being used for illegal sales of drugs or guns.It “took action” in the quarter against 900,000 pieces of content related to drug sales, of which some 83 per cent was detected by software. — AFP [...]
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Maszlee says aware of flaws as minister, working hard to be better
Education Minister Maszlee Malik visits Sekolah Kebangsaan Putrajaya Presint 14 (1) in conjunction with the first day of school for 2019 session January 2, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — In a surprise tweet today, Maszlee Malik has admitted that he is aware of his flaws in serving as the education minister.Maszlee also said that he requires assistance from everyone in his reform efforts, for the sake of the future.“As a minister, I know I have many weaknesses. I am aware and will continue to work hard improving myself,” Maszlee posted in Malay.“And I believe, change is not the work of a sole man. I need help from all of you.“For a better tomorrow,” he added.Sebagai seorang menteri, saya sedar saya banyak kelemahan. Saya menyedarinya dan akan terus bertungkus lumus memperbaiki diri.Dan saya percaya, perubahan bukan kerja seorang diri. Saya perlukan bantuan dari anda semua.Untuk esok yang lebih sempurna. pic.twitter.com/HCeE0haFFj— Maszlee Malik (@maszlee) May 24, 2019It is unsure what prompted the tweet, but the minister has been under heavy fire from both the public and within Pakatan Harapan over several of his recent controversial statements.In a forum last week, Maszlee had responded to a question on the 90 per cent Bumiputera quota in matriculation by stating that the quota system should not be looked at in isolation as there were Bumiputera being denied jobs because they did not know how to speak Mandarin.His response triggered a renewed debate on the issue of matriculation quotas, after the Cabinet’s decision to maintain a 90 per cent Bumiputera quota system in the pre-university programme.Maszlee had also dismissed a proposal for students to learn about other religions alongside Islamic Studies, claiming it could bring about more detrimental effects rather than positive ones.This comes amid rumours that DAP was looking to force Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad into sacking Maszlee which would see fellow party member and deputy minister Teo Nie Cheng automatically succeed him — an allegation denied by the party. [...]
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DPM says no discussions to shut down vernacular schools
Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the government has not discussed calls by certain NGOs to shut down vernacular schools. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri BUKIT MERTAJAM, May 24 — The government has not discussed calls by certain non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to shut down vernacular schools, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.She said such proposals were never raised at the weekly Cabinet meetings.Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said she had long been aware of such demands being made from time to time but there had never been any serious discussions on the matter.“The racial diversity of Malaysia is actually an advantage as it gives the people a chance to learn multiple languages. There is nothing wrong about learning Mandarin, Tamil and English because we are multi-racial and multi-ethnic and should capitalise on this as our national asset.“During my visit to Geneva recently, they (people there) could speak up to five languages, so what is wrong for us to learn Tamil, Mandarin and English?” she told reporters after opening Dewan Yayasan Aman at Penanti near here today.She was commenting on a memorandum from NGOs asking the government to shut down vernacular schools, which was handed over to Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik two days ago.The memorandum was made following Maszlee’s recent statement linking the matriculation quota to the requirement for Mandarin proficiency when applying for jobs in the private sector.On another topic, Dr Wan Azizah welcomed the suggestion by Datuk A. Kadir Jasin, the prime minister’s media adviser, for non-performing ministers and state executive councillors to relinquish their posts voluntarily.“I welcome the criticism, and we will do our best to improve,” she added.In her speech earlier, Dr Wan Azizah said it is the Pakatan Harapan government’s desire to fulfill the wishes expressed by the people in the 14th general election but it was hampered by the damage done by the previous government.“When we say the main reason is the national debt, people will get tired. But that is the fact and reality. Our hopes are high and there are many things we want to do,” she added. — Bernama [...]
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State govt to set up special panel to resolve pollution woes of Melaka river, says chief minister
Tourists ride on the River Cruise boat along the Melaka River. ― Bernama pic JASIN, May 24 ― The Melaka state government will set up a special committee to ensure pollution in the Melaka River does not recur.Chief Minister Adly Zahari said the establishment of the special committee led by the Melaka River and Coastal Development Corporation will see to this, adding priority would be to find the root cause as to why hundreds of fish died and why the (Melaka) river turned black.“So far, what we have identified is that the meeting of freshwater and saltwater from the sea caused the fish to die. This phenomenon also occurred in 2015.“The Melaka River is a tourist area and through the establishment of this committee, we will identify the type of controls we can carry out over the long term to ensure the quality of our rivers,” he told reporters after opening the Ramadan Inspiration Programme of the state-level Islamic Economic Development Foundation (Yapeim) Melaka.The event was held at the Al-Muttaqin Mosque, Kampung Tedong, Merlimau, here yesterday.He said the committee would also discuss main measures to control the influx of water through an enhanced barrage system as well as ensure better river management in the future.Meanwhile, Adly said unreleased water for long periods at the Batu Hampar dam could have been one of of the main reasons for the discolouration of the Melaka River, besides environment effects.“However, we believe that the situation will be back to normal when it rains. In fact, the Melaka River Cruise boat service is still continuing.“We believe the barrage system problem in the Melaka River will be solved if our RM15 million application is approved by the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry,” he said.On Monday, the media reported that the state government wanted the Department of Environment (DOE) in Melaka to investigate why the Melaka River had turned dark and emitted a foul smell.Meanwhile at the same event, Yapeim board member Mokhtar Ramli said that a total of  RM168,500 had been allocated to the foundation (Yapeim) to assist 1,600 disadvantaged people in Melaka through the Ramadan Inspiration programme this year.He said out of this, 1,000 recipients were underprivileged children, adding that Yapeim had also allocated RM2.5 million to be distributed to 14,000 recipients nationwide including orphans and those from underprivileged backgrounds.Meanwhile, Adly when met after the launch of the programme said he welcomed the efforts made by Yapeim as it helped to lessen the burden of the recipients. ― Bernama [...]
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Kit Siang says debate with Najib off amid fears of racial conflict
Lim Kit Siang attends the 2019 DAP National Conference in Shah Alam May 5, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — DAP’s Lim Kit Siang has today retracted his agreement to debate scandal-plagued Datuk Seri Najib Razak, citing fears that the event may be turned into an ethnic conflict.In a statement, the Iskandar Puteri MP has also pre-empted any accusations that he is a coward for deciding so, telling the public instead to judge himself by his 53 years in politics.“As there is great likelihood that the debate on ‘How Malaysia became a global kleptocracy and how we can become a leading nation of integrity’ between Najib and myself could be turned into a Malay vs Chinese conflict “When the battle against corruption, abuses of power and criminal conduct like money-laundering is not a racial or religious issue but an issue of good values and good governance, I have decided not to proceed with the debate with Najib,” he said.The DAP stalwart said in the past year, there had been a systematic attempt to intensify and escalate ethnic and religious polarisation in Malaysia.Lim gave the example of Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma), who was recently slammed by the public for accusing a Pos Malaysia-issued stamp featuring St George’s Church in Penang as an example of Islam allegedly being “bullied” under Pakatan Harapan’s administration — despite it being issued back in 2016.He also admitted that in the past 48 hours he was inundated with messages and calls, most of whom urged him to not debate Najib, who he called “the most malignant political force in the history of Malaysia”.“I know my decision will be greeted with tempests of allegations that I am a coward. My 53 years of politics is an open book for Malaysians to judge whether I am a coward or not, and I am always prepared to subject myself to the judgment of Malaysians. “However, there is one thing I will not compromise — the higher interests of the nation and Malaysians,” Lim said.Najib and Lim both agreed to a public debate earlier this week, with the former suggesting the debate take place after Aidilfitri next month and for the event to be broadcast “live”. [...]
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Cuba seeks direct trade with Malaysia to ease supply shortage, says envoy
KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Cuba is seeking to establish direct trade with Malaysia, including barter trade, to ease the current shortage of supplies on the Caribbean island nation.Cuban Ambassador to Malaysia Ibete Fernandez Hernandez said that the system would contribute to alleviating the situation faced by Cuba due to the escalation and tightening of a trade embargo imposed by the United States (US).“If we (Malaysia-Cuba) can make barter trade (a reality), it will be great. The facilitation would really help us in coping with food rationing in order to deal with the shortages. For example, as Cuba produces vaccines and Malaysia has food items, we can do such exchanges.  “In any way where we can collaborate, for example, doing exchanges through shipments, I think there would not be any problem arising and in fact, this is the best approach during these difficult times.”Hernandez said this to Bernama International News Service at her residence recently, in responding to the increased sanctions against Cuba by the US.Washington recently activated Title III of the Helms-Burton Act to tighten sanctions against Havana, which partly contributed to the shortages of basic foodstuffs in Cuba in recent weeks.Title III of the act, also known as the Libertad Act which took effect on May 2, permits US citizens to file lawsuits in US federal courts against businesses operating on properties the Cuban government appropriated after the 1959 revolution.According to international media reports last week, Cuban Commerce Minister Betsy Diaz said that the latest US move caused the Cuban government to widen the wholesale rationing of staple food items and other basic products in the face of a grave supply crisis.Some items, such as chicken, would be limited to a fixed amount per purchase or per customer while other items, including eggs, rice, beans, grains and sausages, can only be bought with a ration card and are subject to a monthly purchase limit, the reports added.Currently, there is no direct bilateral trade between Malaysian and Cuba.On the same development, Hernandez highlighted that Malaysia had been giving overwhelming support to Cuban resolutions to end the US-imposed embargo on the island nation at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), since 1992.She said such solidarity shown is highly anticipated, especially during crucial moments.“We hope Malaysia will continue to support Cuba in its fight against the embargo. The demonstration of solidarity and statement from this country is certainly important for us,” she further said.Havana and Kuala Lumpur established diplomatic ties in 1975 — at the time of the Cold War ideological divide — and since then have moved forward to enjoy increasingly fruitful and meaningful relations and cooperation in many areas — politics, economics, medical, education, biotechnology, sports and people-to-people relations.Cuba opened its embassy in Kuala Lumpur in 1997, and Malaysia followed suit by setting up its embassy in Havana in February 2001. — Bernama [...]
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No plans to expand list of price control food items for Raya, says Saifuddin
BATU CAVES: The government has no plans to add more food items to the current Festive Season Price Control Scheme for Hari Raya Aidil Fitri celebrations, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail. [...]
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Over 100 Palestinian students eligible for RM11.48m scholarship, Higher Learning Dept says
The government has offered scholarships to Palestinian students to pursue bachelor, masters, and PhD courses in 12 Malaysian universities. — AFP pic KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — A total of 140 Palestinian seeking to further their higher education studies in Malaysia will be eligible under the RM11.48 million worth “Scholarship for Palestine” sponsorship as announced by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday.Higher Education Department director-general Datin Paduka Siti Hamisah Tapsir in announcing the number of placements, also expressed gratitude on behalf of her department to the 12 universities inclusive of a public university that offered the scholarships.“Realising that the sponsorship will be funded entirely by the universities, the department hopes that other higher learning institutions will follow in the examples of these 12 universities.“Their willingness to offer scholarships to Palestinian students in this blessed Ramadan month is a special initiative to symbolise the solidarity of the higher learning industry in its humanitarian effort for oppressed Palestinians,” she said in a statement here.Dr Mahathir yesterday said the government has decided to offer scholarships to Palestinian students to pursue bachelor, masters, and PhD courses in 12 Malaysian universities.The scholarships worth RM11.48 million will be offered through the Palestinian Cultural Organisation Malaysia.Siti Hamisah said while it has become a norm for local universities to offer scholarships annually to both local and foreign students, only private universities have offered over RM100 million in scholarships to local students throughout the years.She cited an example how Al-Bukhary International University in Malaysia is based on the concept of “philanthropy” that offered scholarships to students from war-torn countries so that they may return to their homeland with knowledge to redevelop their countries.“This noble effort has subsequently attracted the interest of other private universities which was then extended to students from Palestine.“This does not only show commitment and concern of academic excellence from the university but also provide an opportunity to Palestinian students to expand their knowledge,” she said.Among the 12 universities and their respective contributions are Albukhary International University (RM3.5 million), Management and Science University (RM1.1 million), Mahsa University (1.094 million), Kolej Universiti Islam Perlis (RM1.02 million), City University (RM1 million), Multimedia University (RM1 million), UCSI University (RM719,433), Universiti Teknologi Petronas (RM681,500), Universiti Tenaga Nasional (RM575,000), Sunway University (RM500,000), Universiti Kuala Lumpur (RM158,400) and Universiti Utara Malaysia (RM128,000).The announcement by Dr Mahathir yesterday drew flak from the public, but several Pakatan Harapan leaders have since explained that the scholarship did not come out of Putrajaya’s coffers. [...]
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