UMNO and PAS Meet Over Malay Unity and Islam
Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi revealed that he has held three meetings with top leaders of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS). Malay unity and Islam were among the issues discussed.
PAS President Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang confirmed party leaders had met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to discuss issues related to Islam and the Malays soon after the March 8 general election.
He said during the meeting with Abdullah, who is also Umno President, PAS was represented by its Deputy President Nasharudin Mat Isa, PAS central election director-general Datuk Mustapha Ali and Shah Alam Member of Parliament Abd Khalid Samad.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, 26 July, PAS Spiritual Leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat proposed the dissolution of both PAS and Umno and the setting up of a new Islam-based political party to unite the Malays and enable Islam to be the protective umbrella for all the people, including non-Muslims.
He said Islam fulfilled the objectives of all endeavours, including political struggle, and should form the basis of political parties seeking to uphold the true political struggle.
Islam would thus be able to regain strength in the country while forging closer links among the communities, including non-Muslims, he said.
The Changing Constitutional Monarchy
Raja Nazrin Shah, the Regent of Perak, said Malaysia’s constitutional monarchy is moving to carve a larger role for itself in the country’s affairs, feeling that it should not be limited to what is stated in the Federal and state constitutions.
He said that though the King acts on the advice of the Prime Minister, and Malay Rulers on the advice of their menteris besar, their responsibility goes wider than that.
”Rulers have a wider responsibility to ensure that the spirit of constitution, the philosophy behind every law and the bigger interest of the country and its people are always understood and protected., ‘’ he said in a speech on the monarchy at Intan.
Raja Nazrin said the constitutional monarch system involves a sharing of power between the Rulers and the people and the Rulers are often the “source of reference” whenever there was a crisis among the rakyat.
He said Rulers should ensure there is a fair check and balance mechanism among the executive, legislative and judiciary, which in turn would strengthen other democratic institutions in the country.
When advice given to the rulers goes against the spirit of the constitution, the sanctity of the law and the principle of justice, Rulers should not feel compelled to follow it.
But he reminded the Rulers not to take sides in any political battle, and to always stay above the fray. “Rulers cannot at all take the side of an action which reflects injustice or agree to an action that does not reflect the truth,’’ he said.
High Court Reject Karpal’s Application To Recall PI Bala
The High Court here dismissed an application to recall private investigator P. Balasubramaniam to give evidence in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial after hearing objections from all parties.
Justice Mohd Zaki Md Yasin rejected the motion filed by Karpal Singh, saying he was of the view that such applications must be made by the prosecution or the defence.
“Counsel holding a watching brief for the family, in my view, is excluded,” the judge said after hearing preliminary objections from the prosecution and the defence yesterday.
Justice Mohd Zaki, however, added that the court would exercise its discretion to call or recall any witnesses should the need arise any time before the decision was made.
Asian Development Bank Warns That East Asia Is Moving Too Slowly To Fight Inflation
ADB said that central banks in East Asia were moving too slowly to combat the threat of quickening inflation, which it warned seemed to be seeping into the broader economies of the region.
It said timely action by policy makers was needed to maintain East Asia’s healthy growth rate, which it forecast at 7.6 percent for both this year and next, otherwise the region risked a damaging spiral of wages and prices.
”Inflation will likely continue to plague much of emerging East Asia, as current record global energy and food prices seep down into overall economic activity, and there are few signs that they will subside any time soon.
”A nagging rise in core inflation across the region suggests that second-round price effects may be already underway, risking an upward spiral of wages and prices; today’s headline inflation may translate into tomorrow’s core inflation.”
Sarawak To Build 12 Dams To Meet Future Power Needs
Sarawak plans to build 12 hydroelectric dams to meet its future industrialisation needs.
Deputy Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum said the dams were necessary to meet energy demands.
Salang said the 12 dams were necessary as consumption was projected to increase with the development of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy.
He said the dams would only be approved if they passed their environmental impact assessment.
He added that he did not expect the projects to materialise any time soon although the plan was to complete all dams by 2020.
In the meantime, the Edge reported that Tenaga may construct the country’s first nuclear power plant at a cost of 10 billion ringgit.
”We are looking at about 10 billion ringgit for a 1,000 MW plant,” Mohamad Zam Zam Jaafar, head of Tenaga’s nuclear energy taskforce, was quoted as saying by the Edge financial daily newspaper.
Editor’s note: Malaysia currently produces 40% more electricity than it uses. The 2,400MW Bakun Dam is yet to come onstream and will need another RM15 billion for undersea cables to transmit the electricity to Peninsular Malaysia.
Siblings Narrate BMC Fracas To SUHAKAM
The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) today started its two-day public inquiry over the alleged use of ‘excessive force’ by police on residents during the Bandar Mahkota Cheras (BMC) fracas.
Chang Jiun Haur told Suhakam that he, his sister and two friends were driving along Persiaran Mahkota Cheras 1 at 11.30pm when they came upon heavy traffic.
”There were cars ahead and behind us,” he said. “But when we saw the blockade and Federal Reserve Unit officers ahead of us, we tried to turn around.”
”However, when we stopped while trying to do a u-turn, the FRU personnel pounced on my car and started kicking and hitting the car with their batons.”
Shocked by what was happening, Chang locked the car’s doors. However, FRU members allegedly smashed the window on his side, unlatched the lock and opened his door.
He was then allegedly dragged out of his car, kicked and beaten by some seven to 10 FRU personnel.
Asked if he had attempted to get up after the incident, Chang said he could not be sure.
”I think I only regained consciousness while in the Kajang Hospital. I have seen videos of the incident and saw myself walking but I cannot remember it very well.”
Chang’s sister testified to shed more light on the incident.
”I wasn’t beaten but the FRU officer who opened my door, stretched across me (while I was seated in the passenger seat) to strike my brother on the arm several times with his baton,” Jiun Mein told the inquiry.
”After that, I was told to leave the car and was escorted by a female FRU member to the side (10m away) where I watched my brother being beaten,” said the 20-year-old student.
She said her brother did not struggle or resist the alleged beating.
And when she begged her minder to tell the FRU officers to stop, the female officer declined.
Asked if she saw how many times the FRU members had struck, Chang said she could not tell as his face was too bloodied by then.
After that, the four were taken to the Kajang police station in a ‘Black Maria’. At the police station, she was allowed to call her parents.
Asked if she thought they were under arrest, Jiun Mein said: “Yes! Although I was not handcuffed, the other three were. And even at the police station, my brother and our friends were still handcuffed.”
Millions Paid To RM650 Company
In a report in The Sun, R. Nadeswaran and Terence Fernandez revealed that the Youth and Sports Ministry entered into a multi-million ringgit agreement to host a football tournament with a company with a paid up-capital of just RM650 and accumulated losses exceeding RM6.5 million.
If the Ministry had carried out a due diligence test, as is required by practice and convention, before entering into an agreement involving such a big amount of money, it certainly would not have parted with RM17 million as “bidding fees” to host the Champions Youth Cup (CYC) tournament last year.
And certainly, it would not have parted with RM8 million as “advance” for this year’s tournament, which has since been aborted.
Public Varsities To Mentor Cluster Schools
Public universities will be adopting cluster schools to enhance continuity within the national education system.
All 20 public universities and 60 cluster schools in the country will be involved in this programme jointly organised by the Education and Higher Education Ministries.
According to Education secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Zulkurnain Awang, the universities and schools will be paired up according to their respective niche areas and geographical proximity.
His Higher Education counterpart, Datuk Dr Zulkefli A. Hassan, said: “As our universities are located everywhere, the distribution is equitable in every state.”
“If the programme is successful, it can even be extended to other schools,” he said, adding that the initiative could include private universities as well.
Crash Helmets Have A Lifespan, M-Cyclists Warned
Helmets protect the individuals that wear them but their usefulness can only last five years.
Road Safety Department director-general Datuk Suret Singh said helmets were effective for up to five years from the time it is manufactured on condition they were handled and cared for properly.
“Helmets are made from a layer of sponge which protects one’s head and skull in the event of accidents.
“After some time, the sponge disintegrates and the layer of protection is gone,” he said yesterday when launching a rear seat belt and helmet advocacy campaign.
To further educate the people, Suret Singh said the department had had discussions with helmet manufacturers to include expiry dates on their products. “Soon, helmets that are sold will have expiry dates,” he said.
Proposed Amendments To The University and University Colleges Act 1971
- University students can join any society or organization (including non-governmental organizations) without the permission of the vice-chancellor
- They can make statements on any academic matter relating to a subject on which they are engaged in study or research
- Offences under the act will no longer be of a criminal nature; they will be disciplinary offences
- Students who have been detained or are in prison can choose to continue with their studies at the same university or another with the minister’s permission
- The definition of ‘student’ will be extended to anyone in a course of study, instruction, training or research at the preparatory, undergraduate, post-graduate or post-doctoral level, including distance-learning, off-campus, exchange and non-graduating students
- The vice-chancellor will not be a political appointee
- Deans will be selected after consultation with faculty staff