Monday, June 30, 2008

Lim: Tajol Rosli should say sorry for Hamidah’s racial slur - The Star

IPOH: Jun 30, 2008

Perak Barisan Nasional should make a public apology over the racial slur Sungai Rapat assemblywoman Hamidah Osman made at the recent state assembly, said Ipoh Timor MP Lim Kit Siang.

Lim said it showed the mentality of Barisan assemblymen.

“She humiliated the Indians. Barisan should assume full responsibility for what had happened,” he said, when opening the Buntong DAP service centre here yesterday.

On Friday, Hamidah was reported to have asked Speaker V. Sivakumar if he “agreed to disagree'' with the well-known fable of whether a snake or an Indian man should be killed first.

She only retracted her words when Tajol Rosli asked her to do so.

Lim pointed out that a similar incident occurred in Parliament about 10 years ago, when Tajol Rosli was an MP then.

Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran said Indians were “aggrieved” with what had happened.

“The MIC should be ashamed of what has happened and pull out of the Barisan,” he said, adding that Hamidah’s statement was not good for nation building.

Buntong Jaya Parti Keadilan Rakyat branch chief M. A. Tinagaran said Hamidah’s slur had inflicted an emotional scar on the Indians.

“We are not happy and we want her to apologise publicly in all major dailies,” he said.

In George Town, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Umno should take stern action against Hamidah if the party did not share her views.

“I found this shocking, especially when it (the utterance) came from an assemblyman. The comment is clearly unacceptable.

“She is a disgrace to all wakil rakyat,” said Lim after launching a children’s play camp at SJK (C) Shang Wu yesterday.

He said he had received many SMSes from the Indian community expressing their anger and outrage.

“We are Malaysians. We must show compassion to each other regardless of race, religion, gender and political affiliation,” he added.

BN rep retracts statement about speaker - NST

IPOH: Jun 30, 2008

Sungai Rapat Barisan Nasional assemblyman Hamidah Osman, whose controversial remarks in the Perak assembly on Friday had riled many quarters, said she only meant to ask Speaker V. Sivakumar not to twist his words.

She said her words came at the spur of the moment and she never meant to insult the Indian community.

"I've retracted my words in the state assembly. I don't see it as a big issue," she said when contacted yesterday.

Asked if she would issue an apology at the next state assembly meeting, Hamidah said she had apologised in the assembly and to the Indian community by explaining her remarks to the Gopeng MIC chief and other division leaders.

On her apology at the state assembly, she said: "I withdrew my words. I meant to apologise."

On Friday, she told Sivakumar that she disagreed with the fable of whether a snake or a man from a certain community should be killed first, and asked if he also disagreed with it. She retracted her statement after being asked to do so by state BN chief Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali.

Yesterday, she said that words spoken during the state assembly was the assembly's affairs.

She said she only meant to ask Sivakumar not to twist his words, citing his decision to allow Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang to present the first debate on Thursday despite a promise by Deputy Speaker Hee Yit Foong the previous day that Kubu Gajah assemblyman Datuk Seri Raja Ahmad Zainuddin would be allowed to do so.

Quick nod for project from state - The Star

SITIAWAN: Jun 29, 3008 By IVAN LOH

It was probably the fastest approval given to a company to build an oil and gas fabrication yard.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said the state government had given “an almost immediate” approval to UMW to build the yard at Kampung Acheh here.

He said he got the proposal in the evening and gave an approval the next day in less than 24 hours.

Speaking to reporters after the groundbreaking ceremony for the yard yesterday, Nizar explained that the proposal had been submitted to the government three weeks ago.

Asked whether sufficient studies have been conducted before giving the approval, Nizar said: “Yes, we reviewed the proposal and saw no problems with it.

“The land on which the fabrication yard will be built is privately-owned and there are no complications from the relevant departments for a quick decision,” he added.

Nizar noted that the fabrication yard was the first major project approved within 100 days of Pakatan Rakyat rule in Perak.

He assured investors that they could obtain fast approvals so long as the projects were under the purview of the state.

“With a globally recognised company like UMW coming in now, it will certainly attract other big companies to invest here,” he said.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Samy urges Barisan to punish Hamidah - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Jun 29, 2008

Barisan Nasional has been urged to take disciplinary action against Sungai Rapat assemblyman Hamidah Osman for insulting the Indian community at the Perak state assembly on Friday.

MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, in making the call, said the party condemned the state assemblyman’s action.

“We urge the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council to take action against her,” he said in a statement here.

Hamidah was reported to have asked Speaker V. Sivakumar if he agreed to disagree with the well-known fable of whether a snake or a man from a certain racial community should be killed first.

However, she retracted her words when Barisan whip Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali (BN – Pengkalan Hulu) asked her to do so.

“I want her to make a public apology to the Indian community. What she did is most humiliating and not acceptable,” Samy Vellu said, adding that her remarks had angered Indians.

In IPOH, a Tamil cultural group lashed out at Hamidah for uttering racist remarks.

“It’s uncalled for when we are talking about forging a Malaysian Malaysia,” Tamilar Thirunal group adviser M. Mathialagan, 58, said after lodging a police report over the remarks at the district police headquarters yesterday.

Meanwhile, Hindu Action Rights Force (Hindraf) national coordinator R. S. Thanenthiran said the state assembly was the wrong platform for Hamidah if she wanted to act like a “super heroine”.

“We know she’s a very pretty lady but if she wants to be a super heroine, she should go act in a drama instead.

“There is no such idiom anywhere in the dictionary. We ask her, please don’t trouble the Prime Minister with your remarks. He has enough headaches already,” he added.

When contacted, Hamidah apologised unreservedly to the Indian community, saying she did not mean to insult them.

“It’s an old Malay proverb which simply means to not twist one’s words around. I was misinterpreted and it got out of hand,” she said.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Reps keep up heat on Speaker - The Star

IPOH: Jun 28, 2008

It was another fiery day for Perak State assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar who not only had to handle continued heckling by Barisan Nasional assemblymen but also had a question with racial overtones thrown at him.

The first 36 minutes of Question Time yesterday saw opposition assemblymen continuously standing up and asking him for the chance to speak, and raise issues.

One by Hamidah Osman (BN-Sungai Rapat) particularly earned the wrath of the Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen when she asked whether Sivakumar “agreed to disagree” with the well-known fable of whether a snake or a man from a certain racial community should be killed first.

Heated debate: Tajol Rosli (right) trying to interject during the winding-up speech by Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin (left) at the Perak State Assembly yesterday.

Nga Kor Ming (DAP-Pantai Remis) and other Pakatan assemblymen demanded Hamidah retract her words but she maintained she was merely asking if Sivakumar “agreed to disagree” with it.

Sivakumar let her off with a warning and told her not to bring up anything sensitive.

Barisan whip Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali (BN-Pengkalan Hulu) then asked her to retract her words, and she did.

Throughout the sitting, Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir (BN-Pangkor), Datuk Seri Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar (BN-Kubu Gajah) and Tajol Rosli continued to take Sivakumar to task over his decision to not let Raja Ahmad Zainuddin to be the first to take the floor on Thursday to debate the motion of thanks on the royal address.

Sivakumar reiterated that he saw Chang Lih Kang (PKR-Teja) stand up first and therefore called him to take the floor.

“I said after Teja, you can speak but you did not want to take the opportunity. Now sit down,” said Sivakumar.

The Speaker, whose most frequently used phrase yesterday was “sit down”, had to appeal for cooperation from the assemblymen to start the question-and-answer session.

He also had to control the House when issues on Islam and some defamatory remarks were made against a former assemblyman.

Dr Mah Hang Soon (BN-Chenderiang) also tested Sivakumar's patience when the sole MCA representative brought out a poster and gave a lengthy explanation of how PAS was committed to the setting up of an Islamic state.

When Sivakumar did not adjourn for lunch at 12.30pm, the opposition assemblymen made so much noise that they drowned out the voice of Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, who was making his winding-up speech.

The assembly adjourned sine die at 4.15pm.

Nga slams Opposition’s smear agenda - The Star

IPOH: Jun 28, 2008

State exco member Nga Kor Ming said attempts to link him with a company supplying food to the hardcore poor was meant to tarnish the state government's name.

Speaking to reporters after the 12th Perak State Assembly sitting adjourned for lunch yesterday, Nga said he was not related to Nga Foo Ting and Sons Sdn Bhd.

The company is one of two to get the contract. The other is Nussa Enterprise.

“These are controlled items with prices fixed by the Government. There is no issue,” he said.

Nga said the two companies that would supply some RM1mil worth of rice, sugar and cooking oil to 4,986 hardcore poor were supplying the items at below market price.

“The Opposition is deliberately creating a ruckus because it wants to tarnish the good name of the Pakatan government,” said Nga.

Earlier during Question Time, Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir (BN-Pangkor) had asked whether Nga Foo Ting and Sons was related to Nga or senior exco member Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham.

Dr Mah Hang Soon (BN-Chenderiang) also raised the issue while Hamidah Osman (BN-Sungai Rapat) and Datuk Rusnah Kassim (BN-Hulu Kinta) asked how the contracts were given out to the companies.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin replied that the two companies had quoted the lowest prices.

Hamidah says 'sorry' for racial slur - Malaysiakini

Ahti Veeranggan | Jun 28, 08 6:55pm

Sungai Rapat state assemblyperson Hamidah Osman, who caused a furore in the Perak legislative assembly on Friday with her racial slur, has publicly apologised for hurting the Indian community.

At a packed press conference in the Ipoh Country Club this morning, the Barisan Nasional elected representative issued the public apology before newsmen, saying that it was not her intention to hurt the Indian community with a racial slur.

"I have already retracted my statement in the House and now, I am offering my humble and sincere apology here to all Indians for uttering the racist remarks in the heat of the moment.

"I regret for saying that and promise not to repeat it anywhere anymore," said a visibly moved Hamidah, who plans to embark on a 'constituency road-show' to explain and apologise over the incident to electorates in Gopeng, which encompasses Sungai Rapat.

Her apology came in the wake of several police reports lodged by Perak Indian-based public interests groups such as cultural-based organisation Ipoh Tamilar Tirunaal (ITT) organising committee, which has 30 Indian NGO affiliates.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Barisan reps walk out - The Star

At the Perak State Assembly


All 28 Perak Barisan Nasional assemblymen staged a walkout on the second day of the state assembly after one of them was not allowed to speak.

“I’m going home. They played us out,” Perak Barisan chief Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali told reporters outside the assembly hall here yesterday.

Furore in Dewan: Raja Ahmad Zainuddin (left) expressing his disappointment at not being allowed to speak. Standing up in protest in the background are Canning assemblyman Wong Kah Woh (right) and Tebing Tinggi assemblyman Ong Boon.

The former mentri besar (BN - Pengkalan Hulu) was unhappy that Datuk Seri Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar (BN - Kubu Gajah) had been denied the chance to speak when proceedings moved on to debating the motion of thanks on the royal address.

He said Raja Ahmad Zainuddin should be the first to debate as deputy speaker Hee Yit Foong had supposedly promised to allow him to do so before proceedings were adjourned on Wednesday.

Instead, Speaker V. Sivakumar chose to give the floor first to Chang Lih Kang (PKR - Teja).

Therefore, Tajol Rosli said he would boycott the proceedings until the winding-up speech of Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin today.

“I will not be in the dewan (assembly hall) for the rest of the day until the MB’s (winding-up) speech in the afternoon. I respect the MB so I will be here.

“He (Sivakumar) just wants to show his power. We can show our power too by walking out,” said Tajol Rosli.

Raja Ahmad Zainuddin claimed that the secretary of the assembly had assured him earlier that he would be the first to debate.

He told reporters that he wanted a correction on Nizar’s earlier statement that a piece of land had supposedly been approved for “Umno Larut Matang and Selama.”

Raja Ahmad Zainuddin, who is also Larut Umno division chief, said there was no such division by that name, and insisted that no land had been given to his division.

“In fact the Land and Mines Department confirmed that a piece of land was applied for the Kamunting state constituency in the Larut Matang and Selama district.

“If that were so, Kamunting would be under Taiping Umno, not mine.

“It’s shameful for me and I just wanted it corrected in the Mentri Besar’s winding-up speech,” he added.

The fiery assemblyman added that when he stood up to speak, it was to seek a clarification and not to cause trouble or “be the naughty boy of the dewan”.

Nizar: Former govt awarded state land to BN parties

At the Perak State Assembly

IPOH: Jun 27, 2008

The previous Barisan Nasional government awarded state land to Umno, the MCA and Gerakan, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said.

Land was approved for Umno in Teja, Kampar, and Kuala Kangsar, for MCA in Ipoh Barat and Kampar, and for Gerakan in Jalong.

However, Nizar stirred a hornet’s nest when he mentioned that land worth RM300,564 had been approved in 2005 for “Umno Larut Matang and Selama.”

This led to a heated protest led by Datuk Seri Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar (BN-Kubu Gajah), who insisted there was no such division in Umno.

Nizar was replying to Wong Kah Woh (DAP-Canning) who asked for a list of state land that had been approved for political parties since 2004.

Debating the motion of thanks on the royal address, Leong Mee Meng (DAP-Jalong) said she had received many complaints of abuse of power relating to land applications in her constituency.

She said a fish breeder who had been toiling on a 17.8ha plot of land had failed over the past 10 years to obtain a title.

“The piece of land was, instead, given to 22 people linked to Barisan,” she said, adding that each was given 0.8ha although they were not working on the land.

“What was worse was that they sold the land for RM30,000 each while the land premium charged was only RM400,” she said.

A piece of land used as a car park for parents sending their children to a kindergarten was given to Gerakan in 2005 to build its office, she said.

Blitz on illegal jaga kereta boys - The Star

Jun 26, 2008 By CHRISTINA KOH

THE Perak Government is coming down hard on illegal car park attendants who have been a bane to the people of Ipoh.

State Education, Local Government, Housing and Public Transport Committee chairman Nga Kor Ming said there were just too many illegal parking attendants in the city causing tourists to complain of feeling unsafe in the streets.

These attendants, he said, had become aggressive and even resorted to scratching parked vehicles and puncturing tyres if their owners did not pay up.

He added that there were even cases of children being manipulated into acting as attendants to earn money for “syndicates”.

Long-standing problem: Illegal car park attendants being rounded up by enforcement officers at Gerbang Malam, Ipoh.

“We want to send a very strong signal to these illegal car park attendants that we have zero tolerance towards this kind of thing.

“This is a problem that has been going on for a long time. It’s intolerable,” Nga told reporters after leading an operation against the attendants in parts of Ipoh on Sunday night.

The operation, carried out with Ipoh city council secretary Roshidi Hashim, Tebing Ting-gi assemblyman Ong Boon Piow, and various enforcement officers and two policemen, netted 14 offenders while the rest fled.

Nga warned repeat offenders still at large that they had only a week’s grace period before the authorities threw the book at them.

“If things don’t change, we will jail or fine them in court if the law allows. If they test positive for drugs, we will send them for rehabilitation or charge them under the Dangerous Drugs Act,” he said.

Presently, those detained usually spent a night in police lockup before they were either released by a magistrate or sent for drug rehabilitation or to a welfare home.

Roshidi, whose car tyres were once slashed by an illegal car park attendant in the Medan Ipoh area a year ago, estimated that Ipoh had at least 50 illegal parking attendants.

“Some are drug addicts, some are beggars. Once, we even came across a husband and wife doing the same job,” he said.

The Sunday crackdown was the fifth such operation since the first one in February.

Nizar’s claim in Gerik was underhanded, says Tajol Rosli - The Star

IPOH: Jun 26, 2008

The handing over of duties from Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali to Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin became a bone of contention for the former mentri besar.

Starting with the issue of being labelled a “very bad loser” who refused to salam (shake hands) with Nizar, Tajol Rosli said he had been made to look ”un-gentlemanly” after Barisan Nasional’s defeat.

He said Nizar had told the people of Gerik that he (Tajol Rosli) refused to hold a ceremony to hand over the duties of the mentri besar.

“Look, I have pictures of me shaking hands with Nizar,” said Tajol Rosli, holding up the photographs when debating the motion of thanks for the royal address at the 12th Perak state assembly yesterday.

“How can you then go to Gerik and say something different?” he asked.

Nizar replied that he had not had the privilege of having a ceremony for Tajol Rosli to officially hand over the duties to him as was done in Penang, Selangor and Kedah.

Tajol Rosli replied: “Have you ever called me on the phone to say that there is a need for that? You should also have the courtesy to call me.”

He pointed out that he had not entered his old office since Barisan fell because he did not want to be humiliated by the Pakatan Rakyat government.

“I don’t want all sorts of accusations to be hurled at me such as removing files. I don’t want to be humiliated and I will not let you humiliate me.

“Accusations have been hurled at us as if we were rogues of the highest order,” he said.

“After Barisan fell on the night of March 8, there were people who came to my official residence at 4am the next day, asking me to leave,” he added.

“There had been many occasions when I salam with (greet) you (Nizar) but maybe you don’t see me when I salam,” Tajol Rosli added.

Tajol Rosli ended his debate with the pledge that it was his duty to use just means to bring down the Pakatan government.

“We will work for the interest of the people but for Pakatan it is still a honeymoon period and they are still behaving like the Opposition,” he added.

Tajol Rosli also cited Pantai Remis assemblyman Nga Kor Ming and state DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham as wanting to be called “heroes of the people”.

“We are waiting for the time when these two are no longer heroes,” he added.

Speaker: Perak BN walkout was 'childish' - The Star

IPOH: Jun 27, 2008

Perak Barisan Nasional’s walkout during the state assembly was “childish” and unbecoming of an elected representative, assembly speaker V. Sivakumar said.

“They are here to bring forth the problems of the people, not to carry out their own agenda in order to get publicity,” he said when commenting on the incident here Thursday.

Asked about Datuk Seri Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar (BN - Kubu Gajah) being denied the chance to debate, Sivakumar said that Raja Ahmad Zainuddin had been given the last half hour of the sitting on Wednesday to debate.

But for some reason, he chose not to speak and instead asked to debate Thursday on the motion of thanks on the royal address, said Sivakumar.

“When you get the opportunity to speak, you grab it. Otherwise, you will have to wait your turn like everyone else.

“Moreover, I never refused his request. I told Raja Ahmad Zainuddin he would debate next after Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang, who stood up first," he said.

On accusations from Barisan representatives that he was biased towards Pakatan Rakyat, Sivakumar aruged that he had been more than fair to Barisan.

He pointed out that he gave over two hours to former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali to present his debate

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

DAP must ensure Perak govt stable, says Ngeh - The Sun

JUNE 24, 2008: By Humayun Kabir

PERAK DAP chairman and senior exco member Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham, who is also Perak Finance, Public Utilities, Energy, Water and non-Islamic Affairs Committee chairman, speaks to Humayun Kabir. Ngeh is also Bruas MP and Sitiawan assemblyman.

Q: You’re the first DAP member in the country to be made a Datuk by the Perak Sultan. Your reactions and implications on your party, whether positive or negative?

A: I believe that the Datukship was given to me for my contributions to the state. I had always addressed the grievances of the public and looked into their needs when I was in the opposition and I am continuing this social work till today.

Basically, people tend to think that when an award is given, the person's position is elevated from the public. But our DAP socialist philosophy is such that all people are equal irrespective of their status in society. So the award has not changed me personally and I am still the same socialist person that the public know me to be. The public is free to approach me for help and advice.

Q: Being the state DAP chairman, how do you envision the role of the party which holds a commanding 18 seats in the PR government? It is alleged that DAP yields the real power behind the scene in the state government. Can you clarify?

A: We always work on a consensus and consultation basis.The DAP must ensure that this state government is stable and continues to function robustly during its term of office. The three parties of DAP, PKR and PAS are united in administrating the state efficiently through collective decisions and mutual understanding. DAP is not controlling the government as projected by Barisan Nasional (BN). Never, at any point of time, has the DAP forced the Mentri Besar (MB) to make decisions against his will. BN is trying to portray the MB (Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin) as a DAP puppet. But the MB is never a puppet of the DAP. He is well educated and has his own ideas. He is an active person who interacts with all based on his universal values. It’s Umno's political ploy to tarnish his image. Now, I challenge the BN in the assembly to name one single incident whereby the MB's decision was deemed to be a puppet of the DAP.

Q: What is the racial ratio of DAP's membership? Will this racial composition change into a multi-racial one by recruiting more non-Chinese into the party?

A: Sometimes, people tend to think that DAP is a Chinese-based party as the majority of members are Chinese. We have a few thousand Indian and Malay members. With the change in the political scenario in Malaysia after the March 8 general election, we are going on a recruitment drive to enlist more non-Chinese professionals as members who can contribute ideas and give constructive suggestions to improve the party’s image.

Q: With all the restrictions imposed by the federal government on the flow of federal funds into the state and duplication of the state’s functions in the various departments, how are you handling the financial situation and implementation of projects for the people?

A: Perak has financial reserves of RM700 million in administration funds and the state is rich in natural resources like timber, minerals like tin, iron ore, magnesium and calcium with a rich land-bank and an abundance of water resources. We are thinking of supplying some water to Penang and Selangor where there is demand. The federal government is supposed to channel RM12 million in federal funds for development projects in Perak and we hope BN will keep to their promises and deliver the funds to us soon.

Q: Isn't the BN government infringing into the state’s power and rights of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to govern the state?

A: Duplicating our state’s functions is another classic example of wastage of public funds by the federal government. And such creations of federal departments will create an atmosphere of corruption whereby there will be abuse of such funds as there is no check and balance for such departments’ expenditures. BN is not respecting the democratic process and rights of the people. They continue to insult the intelligence of the people by ignoring the fact that the rakyat has elected a PR government in Perak. We hope the rakyat will now see the true colours of the BN government when they are not in power in the five PR states.

Q: What joint-action can be taken by the five PR governments to counter these pressure tactics adopted by BN to immobilise the five PR state governments?

A: First, we will inform the public of the underhand tactics used by BN in trying to topple the PR government in Perak by not releasing the development funds due to the state. If they continue to strangle us financially by withholding the allocated funds, then one fine day, we will have no choice but to tell Perakians not to pay any form of federal taxes to the federal coffers. I hope the situation need not come to such a stage! The federal government must realise that the development funds due to Perak is all Perakians’ money collected from the various federal taxes. The funds are not the property of the federal government to monopolise and politicise for their own agendas. It must realise that the rakyat is the boss and the money belongs to the public. The BN government fails to understand that the PR in Perak is here to service the needs of the public who have elected us, believing that we will meet the rakyat’s aspirations of a better quality of life for all Malaysians irrespective of race and religion.

The BN government must also realise that it can no longer hoodwink the public with such political stunts, as the public is very alert after the 12th general election on March 8.They should not underestimate the power of the people who can change the political scenario with will. Any political party that ignores the wishes of the rakyat is doomed to failure in the political arena! The fact is that the federal government has more powers in financial matters, while the state governments has a limited role!

Q: Do you think that this victimisation of the five states will backfire on BN?

A: Definitely. People now have woken up from their political slumber and have taken control of the political arena in the country and the BN's "bullying" tactics will eventually backfire on them.

Q: As you’re in charge of finance, how are you going to present the state budget that is people friendly?

A:The previous Perak BN government lost substantially in investments, development and in generating income compared with Selangor and Johor. Perak has also lost human capital to other states. Now, the PR state government is going all out to woo foreign investments into the state, capitalise on its natural resources and create a conducive business environment for Perakians who left the state to return to work for the silver state. The budget to be presented end of this year will be people-friendly, nothing taxing as the rakyat is already feeling the effects of inflation driven by the snowballing effect of price increases in the various sectors of the country.

Q: The coalition for Good Governance compromising of 55 civil society groups says it is possible to by-pass the Local Government Act 1976 that abolished local government elections.The state has the authority to exclude areas within their jurisdiction from application of the Local Government Act 1976 by passing a state enactment to that effect and gazette the same. Will Perak take up this advice?

A: We have to first, carefully study the legal implications of this suggestion before we can proceed any further. The federal government has to first amend the federal law before the state can act on it.

Q: The state government is offering the conversion of leasehold land to freehold to new villages and Kampung Tersusun. Your comments.

A: The offer is only for 10,000 people living in new villages and Kampung Tersusun and the state will gain a very substantial form of revenue by higher premiums on the conversion.

Q: Any plans to reduce domestic water tariff by 10%!

A: No, not for the moment as the rates for our water tariff is still low and affordable. Our main source of income from water is from the commercial sector. However, there are plans to give some form of free water to the hardcore poor in the state.

Q: Selangor wants to implement a seven-day working week for all state government agencies to facilitate people's dealings. Selangor wants to maintain the five-day working week for all state government staff by offering staggered off-days during the week. Will Perak follow suit?

A: There is no plan for Perak at the moment for such a move and we will only consider the move if there is a necessity.

Q: There is a plan for the five PR states to take a common standard policy on minimum wages. Selangor has opted for RM1,500 monthly salary compared with MTUC's proposal of RM900. Your views!

A: The move is good but state governments cannot enforce the law on minimum wages as this comes under the federal government which has to amend the labour laws to include such a clause.

Q: Also in the pipeline for the five states is to increase the maternity leave from the current 60 days. Selangor and Kedah are looking at another 30 days, while Penang is opting for 15 days. What is Perak’s stand?

A: The 60 days maternity leave is sufficient for Perak and if the workers want to take extra leave, they can make use of their annual leave.

Q: Will Perak follow suit Kedah which has opened logging tender to increase state revenue?

A: In principle, we are for opening logging tenders but for Perak we have to impose certain restrictions as the livelihood of about 10,000 sawmill owners and such down- stream industries in Perak will be greatly affected. When outright open tenders are practised, only rich people will get the concessions and our logs will find their way into Selangor and our saw millers in Perak who have complained that there is insufficient supply of logs in the state, will have no produce for their business activities.

Q: Kedah is also offering between 25% and 75% cut in quit rent depending on the land usage. Perak’s view.

A: The quit rent can only be increased after every 10 years and the last revision was in 2006.

Q: Penang wants a new land policy to convert its leasehold land into freehold on a case by case basis, what is Perak’s stand?

A: We have to follow the law according to the National Land Code. Our priority now is for New Villages and Kampung Tersusun. Later we may follow up on other sectors when the need arise.

Q: According to retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk N.H. Chan, the issuance of parking summons by the Ipoh City Council is illegal. Such summons for parking come under the jurisdiction of federal law and was not the ambit of local government. Instead of following the Road transport Act 1987 when issuing summons, the council used the Road Transport (Provision of Parking Places (Ipoh City Council) order 2005 providing for its own punishment in contravention of provisions under order 54 (1) that any offence may be compounded by any officer of the council authorised on behalf of the Housing and Local Government Minister. I then approached the state legal Adviser (enforcement) for clarification but he refused to see me. If what Chan says is true, then the Ipoh City Council has been issuing parking summons illegally since 2005! Your comments!

A: I'll have to check on the laws regarding parking summons with the state legal adviser.

Let orang asli manage their plantations - The Star

Jun 24, 2008 By CHRISTINA KOH

THE Perak Government wants the Orang Asli Affairs Department (JHEOA) to surrender oil palm and rubber plantation it manages on behalf of the orang asli.

State executive councillor Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu said he was confident that the orang asli were capable of running their own plantations which were currently run by third parties.

“This is not right. The orang asli are professionals and most of them are graduates.

“By right, they should get their land back,” said Mohd Osman, the state Tourism, Hu-man Development and Non-governmental Organisations Committee chairman, after Yayasan Orang Asli Perak’s (YOAP) annual general meeting in Ipoh recently.

He was responding to complaints by YOAP chairman Suki Mee that the orang asli were being victimised as they were not allowed to run their own plantations.

Mohd Osman said he would check the terms and conditions, both federal agencies, to determine if there was a loophole.

Suki said the orang asli had 18 plantations in Perak covering some 7,200ha which had been contracted to Risda Smallholders Plantations Sdn Bhd and other companies to manage.

He said the problem began 15 years ago when the federal government decided to take land reserved for orang asli and develop it through JHEOA on behalf of those who had little capital.

The department then tasked Risda with the job, with the understanding that the plantations would be returned to the orang asli after four years, said Suki.

“But until now, this has not been done. JHEOA tells us that we are not ready or not capable enough. But we are capable. This is our land,” he added.

The orang asli were only given low dividends as infrequently as once a year, said Suki.

He said he planned to propose that the government set up an orang asli advisory committee on all matters that affected the community.

Perak Orang Asli Affairs Department director Mohd Zamri Mustajap could not be reached for comment.

Live webcast of Perak assembly sitting - The Star

IPOH: Jun 24, 2008 By HAH FOONG LIAN

The Perak assembly sitting will be telecast live over the Internet to reach a wider audience, and can be viewed at the official website of the state government here.

According to state officials, the live telecast was available starting Tuesday with the opening of the assembly by Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah.

“The live telecast will be made available throughout the duration of the assembly scheduled from Wednesday to Friday,” said an official.

Information about the live telecast was also text messaged to the public.

A recipient of the SMS said he received the information about the live telecast on his mobile phone on Monday.

“The SMS message reads that the live telecast on the Internet was an alternative media for the people to know about the proceedings at the assembly,” said the recipient, who declined to be named.

With the live webcast, the Pakatan Rakyat-led state joins its counterparts in Kelantan and Selangor.

To watch the Live Telecast:

Monday, June 23, 2008

After the Storm - The Sun

Click to enlarge

Perak 100 Days Report Card - The Sun

Jun 23, 2008

Click to enlarge

State to give land titles directly to fish breeders - The Star

Jun 23, 2008

THE Perak Government prefers to give land titles direct to Kampung Bali fish breeders in Tronoh than go through the State Agriculture Development Corporation (SADC).

State Higher Education, Science, Technology and Communication Committee chairman Thomas Su said the the previous state government gave the land titles to the SADC and the SADC leased them to the breeders.

“By awarding the titles directly to the breeders, the breeders will not be unnecessarily hassled,” he told reporters after a meeting with the breeders recently.

Su said that the Kinta land office had been given two weeks to ascertain the number of fish breeders involved and to submit a report to the state executive council.

“The state exco will then approve the titles to the breeders,” he added.

About 90% of fish bred in the area are exported.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Umno man defies party, ready to face music - The Star


An Umno member who stood for and won one of the 30 vacant village head posts that were up for grabs at Sunday's Pakatan Rakyat government-organised election knew that he could be expelled from the party for not towing the line.

“If I’m expelled from the party, I have to accept it because they (Umno leaders) have the power to do so,” said Mokhtar Muda.

The 56-year-old retired soldier won a three-cornered fight for the post of Kampung Boyan village head after polling 541 votes, beating self-employed Shaari Chain, 50, and retired teacher Ali Akbar Ibrahim, 60, from Parti Keadilan Rakyat and PAS respectively.

Shaari obtained 77 votes while Ali Akbar garnered 387 votes.

Mokhtar said he did not contest for the post under the Umno ticket.

“The post which I won today should not be a reflection of which party one is aligned to,” said the father of six.

Some local Umno leaders such as former state assembly speaker Datuk Md Isa Ismail, who is also Bukit Gantang Umno division chairman, had warned Umno members against contesting in the village head election as this amounted to disregarding party directives.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Nizar's tight balancing act in Perak - Malaysiakini

Menteri Besar Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin, who heads the Pakatan state government in Perak, is arguably in the most unique position in the country's political landscape.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Perak assembly to go live on Net too - The Star


Following Selangor's footsteps, the Perak state assembly sitting will go live on the Internet too.

Speaker V. Sivakumar said the entire proceeding would be screened through Internet broadband television.

“It is to allow Perakians all over the world to see their assemblymen in action,” he told a press conference here Thursday.

Perak is the second state after Selangor to air their state assembly sitting live through the Internet.

It was reported that the Selangor assembly webcast recorded 110,000 hits from as far as Dubai and United Kingdom.

Sivakumar said the website address would be provided later. Those interested to watch the proceedings live can contact the Speaker's office.

Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah is expected to open the state assembly on June 24. On another matter, Education, Local Government, Housing and Public Transport Committee chairman Nga Kor Ming said the state would not follow the Federal Government’s move to pay civil servants every two weeks.

“Besides being an extra burden on them, it is also not a cost-effective move,” he said.

He also said that the state executive council had agreed to create the post of Opposition Leader with a monthly allowance of RM2,000, an assistant and an office in the State Secretariat.

MP sets up fund to help the needy - The Star

Jun 19, 2008 By RASLAN BAHAROM

STATE assemblymen from Pakatan Rakyat in Perak may be enjoying various privileges, including funds to help out their constituents as they are now part of the ruling coalition, but this is not the case for the MPs.

Frustrated by the absence of such an allocation, Bukit Gantang MP Roslan Shahrum from PAS decided to set up a special fund, known as Tabung Prihatin Parlimen Bukit Gantang (Bukit Gantang Parliamentary Caring Fund).

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin launched the fund at a gathering held in Taman Kota Jaya in Simpang, Taiping, to mark his one-day working visit to the district recently.

Roslan said MPs would normally get an allocation of RM750,000 annually.

Fundraising drive: Mohammad Nizar waving to the crowd after launching the fund as Roslan (centre) looks on.

“For obvious reasons, I am not getting any allocation but I am told that the money would be given via the Jawatankuasa Keselamatan dan Kemajuan Kampung Persekutuan, or JKKP, which is under the purview of the Rural and Regional Develop-ment Ministry,” he told the gathering.

“Hence, there is a need to set up this fund.

“Apart from those who could not afford to fork out the fees to send their children for higher education, I have also come across many hardcore poor families who need help since I became MP,” added Roslan.

After Nizar slotted some cash into one of the donation boxes, volunteers went around the crowd to collect donations and by midnight, more than RM1,000 was raised.

Proceeds from a stall offering cendol makkal sakthi (people’s power) and laksa kai kar (reformation) also went to the fund.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nizar: Restoring the sparkle to Perak - Malaysiakini

First 100 days Perak - the 'silver state' once synonymous with vibrant tin and rubber industries - has not only lost its shine, but has been relegated to the relative backwaters of the national economy.

Full story at

Monday, June 16, 2008

PKR: We prefer a full-time Ipoh mayor - The Star

IPOH: Jun 16, 2008

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has set several criteria for the potential candidate who will take up the post of Ipoh mayor.

PKR national vice-president Dr Lee Boon Chye said the candidate should be able to serve full-time, and should have sufficient experience to deal with civil servants.

We don’t want the person to leave office to attend Parliament all the time. DR LEE BOON CHYE

“We don’t want someone who has to leave office to attend Parliament all the time,’’ he said yesterday. “It should not be held by an elected representative,” he added, commenting on PKR’s stand on the Ipoh Datuk Bandar post.

Speculation has been rife that Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran was keen on filling in the post but his interest has been shot down by several quarters.

The post has been vacant since the Datuk Mohamad Rafiai Moktar retired early this month.

Dr Lee, who is also Gopeng MP, said the person for the Datuk Bandar’s post should be able to handle city affairs on a full-time basis.

“We have a candidate. We want the person to be able to run the city hall well, a full-time person and one who is able to implement policies in the spirit of Pakatan Rakyat,” Dr Lee said, adding that the candidate should also be people-friendly.

“The candidate must also be experienced in dealing with government servants,” he added.

“We will be presenting our case at a meeting with Pakatan Rakyat leaders on Tuesday (tomorrow),” he said.

On Kulasegaran’s interest in the job, Dr Lee said Kulasegaran’s constituency was 100% within the Ipoh city limit.

As such, he said, certain policies implemented could be seen as a conflict of interest.

Perak MCA organising secretary Dr Mah Hang Soon had also called for the new Datuk Bandar to be apolitical.

‘Keep government, party functions apart’ - The Star

IPOH: Jun 16, 2008

Supporters of Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and his state executive council members must be able to differentiate between government functions and political gatherings, said Perak PKR chief Ismail Yusop.

Citing Nizar’s ongoing working visits to the various districts, Ismail said the followers seemed to have confused government functions with those of party events.

“There have been occasions when people were carrying party flags at government functions,” he said after the Perak PKR Youth convention here yesterday.

He said this could make civil servants feel out of place if government events turned out to be political gatherings.

Ismail said Pakatan Rakyat was still in the “learning process.”

“We must remember that we are now in power and no longer in the opposition,” he added.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Perak MCA: Ipoh mayor should be apolitical - The Star

IPOH: JUn 15, 2008

The person chosen to be the new Datuk Bandar for Ipoh should be apolitical, said Perak MCA organising secretary Dr Mah Hang Soon.

He said it would be a conflict of interest if a politician was appointed to helm the council.

“If a politician is selected, will the politician be able to serve the people’s interest or will the politician’s party come first,” he said yesterday.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin was recently quoted as saying that six candidates had been shortlisted for the post.

On the speculation that Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran was one of the nominees, Dr Mah, who is also Chenderiang assemblyman, asked whether Perak had run out of candidates for the Datuk Bandar post.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Know your state rep: Squatters depending on him to secure land titles - NST

MALIM NAWAR: Jun 14, 2008 By Jaspal Singh

Malim Nawar state assemblyman Keshvinder Singh wants to set up associations and clubs for youths.

The odds may have been against Keshvinder Singh in the general election but he proved his detractors wrong by winning the Malim Nawar state seat.

The 37-year-old father of two who joined DAP in April 2005 was seen as a political greenhorn with little chance of taking over the seat from the Barisan Nasional.

"Many, including friends and relatives, did not expect me to win as they considered me a greenhorn but that did not dampen my resolve to do my best to win the seat," he told the New Straits Times.

However, Keshvinder, who defeated Barisan Nasional's Chai Song Poh with a majority of 1,362 votes, acknowledged that the next four or five years before the next polls will not be easy for him.

Just two months into his new job, he has already received close to 1,000 appeals from constituents to help them to either get new land titles or renew old ones.

Many of them have been squatting on state land for two generations or more and, so far, have failed in their attempts to apply for land titles.

Some of those whose titles have expired have been trying to get them renewed for more than 20 years.

With the Pakatan Rakyat state government in power, the squatters are hoping that they will be issued titles to the land on which their houses stand.

"These people have been waiting for years to get their land titles and now they want their problem to be solved by the new state authorities.

"There is a lot of pressure on the state government and myself."

Besides the 1,000-odd families seeking land titles, Keshvinder said he had also received requests from more than 50 farmers who were asking for 30-year titles for the land they were farming.

Almost 40 per cent of his constituents are involved in farming activities, including cattle and buffalo breeding. Many of them are occupying ex-tin mining land without approval from the state government.

While the land issue is certain to occupy his time until the next general election, the lawyer hopes to accomplish much more.

Topmost on his mind is the creation of sports associations and recreational clubs for youths in his constituency.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Call for better health cover - NST

IPOH: Jun 13, 2008 By Veena Babulal

Raja Permaisuri Perak Tuanku Bainun patting 2-month-old Armaya Nur Nafesa while visiting the hospital’s paediatrics ward yesterday.

Private companies have been urged to offer a wider range of health and medical coverage schemes.

Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah, said this would ease the government's financial burden of providing subsidised healthcare and medical services.

He said the government had spent a lot of money on healthcare but there were limits to this, adding that the nation's financial resources were not limitless.

"At the same time, to encourage companies to contribute more towards lightening the burden of the people, the government should also introduce more tax breaks or rebates for them," he said at the renaming of the Hospital Ipoh here to Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun yesterday.

Sultan Azlan said private health schemes would help in cutting the government's health and medical expenses in view of the rising cost of treatment, medicine and medical equipment.

The ceremony was attended by Raja Permaisuri Perak Tuanku Bainun, Raja Di-Hilir Perak Raja Jaafar Raja Muda Musa and his wife Raja Puan Muda Raja Nor Mahani Raja Shahar Shah.

Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai and Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin were also present.

Sultan Azlan called on the medical and healthcare practitioners in the hospital to treat patients with patience.

"As patients are tested by their illness so are the medical practitioners who are supposed to treat them. Love, good bedside manners and dedication are the ingredients of good cure," he said.

Stick to ruling or face closure - The Star

Jun 13, 2008

THE Perak government has warned cybercafé operators in the state not to flout the law or face being shut down immediately.

State Education, Local Government, Housing and Public Transport Committee chairman Nga Kor Ming said the state government was keeping a “watchful eye” on all cybercafes.

“We are giving them an opportunity to buck up and follow the law or we will not hesitate to shut them down.

“Each operator is given a copy of the local government by-laws upon getting the licence to operate their business. Yet, many have been openly flouting the law,” he said.

Nga said that among the guidelines in the bylaws were that cybercafes were not allowed to operate past midnight, engage foreign labour or allow video games, gambling, pipe music or the sale of publications with negative elements at their premises.

Operators should also ensure that patrons below 18 years were accompanied by an adult and they must leave the cybercafé on or before 10pm, he said.

“The café operators are also not allowed to sell cigarettes or liquor or use dark screens at their premises,” said Nga, adding that there were 241 cybercafes in the state, 141 of which, were in Ipoh.

Nga said he would meet the Perak Cyber Café Association next week to discuss the matter.

On a separate matter, Nga said that the state had set up an independent panel comprising professionals to look into matters concerning local government.

“This panel is completely independent of the state government and will advise local councillors on policy matters as well as how to improve the local government’s service to the people,” he said, adding that the names of the panel members would be announced next week.

Nga said the panel was tasked with vetting through the 2,600 applications from the public for the posts of local councillors.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

'Baiduri should be handed over to new govt' - The Star

IPOH: Jun 12, 2008 By CLARA CHOOI

The Perak government wants Baiduri, the state association of Barisan Nasional assemblymen’s wives, to be handed over to the wives of Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen to manage.

Senior exco member Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said the association rightfully belonged to the present state government since it took over after the March 8 elections.

He added that the amendment to Baiduri's constitution -- changing its membership from the wives of state assemblymen (with the exception of opposition assemblymen) to the wives of Perak Barisan representatives -- was void because it had been done after the dissolution of the state legislature.

“After the dissolution on Feb 12, Baiduri held an annual general meeting on Feb 18 at the former Mentri Besar’s residence to amend the constitution.

“The legality of the amendment is questionable for after the dissolution of the assembly, all assemblymen and MPs are considered as ‘former’ assemblymen and MPs.

“This means that after the dissolution, Baiduri members had also become ‘former’ members for they were no longer the wives of elected representatives,” he said.

Ngeh added that the Registrar of Societies (ROS) had only approved the proposed amendment to the Baiduri constitution on April 9.

Ngeh also questioned the “odd reason” behind Baiduri calling for a meeting to amend the constitution after the assembly was dissolved.

“Baiduri was formed 25 years ago. Why did they, all of a sudden, feel a need to amend the constitution? How did they know that their husbands would lose in the general election? Even we were surprised by the outcome,” he said.

“The association has got good objectives and we completely support that. We hope that the present members will step down gracefully before the state government writes to the ROS to study the legality of their amendments,” he said.

Ngeh added that the state also wanted Baiduri to declare how much it had in its bank account and how much had already been spent.

Rakyat could contribute to public healthcare, says Perak Sultan - The Star


The Government should introduce ways to involve the people in taking some social responsibility in helping to pay for public healthcare, said Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah.

He said that each year saw the community's expectations and needs for healthcare increase and this also came with the rising costs of equipment, treatment, medication and health service.

The ruler said the Government had allocated a lot of money to provide healthcare and medical treatment in government hospitals.

"However the country's financial resources has limits. The responsibility and burden on the Government's finances must be lightened," he said.

Sultan Azlan Shah therefore felt there should be ways for the community to contribute, whether through wider health insurance or introducing more attractive health tax rebates for donors, companies and individuals.

To ensure that each person has access to medical treatment, the nation must ensure that money allocated for health programmes is spent wisely in the long term, he said.

The ruler said this at Ipoh Hospital Thursday during a ceremony to rename it to Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun in honour of his consort Raja Permaisuri Tuanku Bainun.

Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, who was also present, told reporters that he would propose to the Cabinet the Sultan's suggestion on increasing tax rebates for those who take up health insurance.

However, he assured the people that the Government did not expect the public to contribute towards the proposed National Health Insurance Scheme which had been debated for many years.

"We are not going to make any decision this year because the rakyat is already burdened with the spiralling cost of living, so we won't add to that.

"In fact, we will continue to give more subsidies. The Government has assured that we won't cut any expenditure on either education or health," Liow added.

The Government subsidised RM8bil in healthcare about three years ago and this has risen to RM12.9bil this year, he said. Also present were Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and other government officials.

Perak to have an opposition leader - NST

IPOH: Jun 12, 2008 By Jaspal Singh

The Perak Constitution will be amended soon to create the post of a state opposition leader.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin said this would be the first time that such a post would be established in any state legislative assembly.

The move, he said, was to recognise the duties, responsibilities and contributions of the opposition leader which previously had only been accepted thro-ugh convention, but was not provided for under the law.

"We (the Pakatan Rakyat state government) will table the amendment to the constitution of the state so that this post will be recognised officially," he said after chairing the state executive council meeting here yesterday.

The amendment would be tabled during the state assembly meeting which begins on June 24.

"I hope all the 28 Barisan Nasional state assemblymen will support the amendment.

"The PR state government recognises the choice of the people who elected them (BN representatives) and as a mark of respect, the state exco has decided to recognise the post of the opposition leader."

It is widely tipped that former Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali, who is Perak BN liaison chairman, would be elected as the opposition leader.

Mohamad Nizar said the state government would provide an office for the opposition leader at the Perak state secretariat.

"Office equipment and necessary assistance will also be provided."

On another matter, Mohamad Nizar said the state government had decided to abolish the levy imposed on property transaction involving foreigners.

"The abolition of the RM5,000 levy imposed by the previous state government will attract foreigners to purchase property in the state."

Asked if the move would deprive the state government of added income, he said it would actually attract foreigners to purchase properties, whether house or land.

"I do not see it as depriving the state's coffers. The long-term benefits are greater."

The abolishment would also benefit Malaysian parents whose children had become citizens of other countries.

At present, their children are required to pay RM5,000 levy, as a form of transfer fee, to enable them to own their parents' properties in the state.

Nizar also announced that the state government had allocated 70ha of land to be given to squatters living along the proposed Ipoh-Padang Besar electrified double-tracking project.

"This is our goodwill gesture to the federal government as we want the ties between the federal and state governments to be enhanced. We hope the relocation will speed up the completion of the federal government's project."

He said the squatters would be relocated to the Larut, Matang and Selama districts in a one month

Perak scraps RM5,000 levy - The Star

IPOH: Jun 12, 2008 By HAH FOONG LIAN (

The state government has abolished the RM5,000 levy imposed on foreigners conducting property transactions in the state.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said the move would encourage foreigners to invest in the state.

“To be a foreign-investor-friendly state, we have decided to abolish the RM5,000 levy imposed on all property transactions, including property put up for auction by foreigners,” he said yesterday after chairing the weekly state executive council (exco) meeting.

On whether the move would result in a loss of state revenue, Nizar said the government was not looking at the move as a loss.

“It is an opportunity for foreigners to come to Perak,” he said.

Senior exco member Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said the move would also benefit Malaysians who wanted to transfer their property to their children who had become citizens of other countries.

Nizar also announced that the position of state opposition leader would be given due recognition and the Perak Constitution would be amended to provide for it.

“We will probably be the first state to recognise the post of opposition leader and we have provided an office and other facilities to the person,” he said.

“We want to emulate Parliament in recognising the position of the opposition leader,” he added.

On the Federal Government’s RM3.7bil double-tracking project from here to Padang Besar, Nizar said the state would cooperate to expedite the project.

“We have identified a 70.8ha plot of land in the Larut, Matang and Selama districts to re-locate squatters living along the railway tracks,’ he said, adding that the move could take place within a month.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Plan for mangosteen processing plant - The Star

Jun 11, 2008

MANGOSTEEN, referred as the Queen of Fruits, has gained the attention of international and local investors. Its trees are found in abundance in Perak.

State Industry Development and Information Committee chairman Tai Sing Ng said investors were keen to open a plant to process the fruit for local and global consumption.

Villager Hussiain Ariffin showing two ripe mangosteens in Simpang.

“Its edible flesh can be canned but its deep reddish purple skin, which was normally discarded, can be processed into tonic drink,” said Tai at a gathering in Simpang to welcome Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, on his one day visit to Taiping recently.

Tai said the mangosteen processing plant would help create more jobs for the people and offer better income to villagers who owned such trees.

Speaking to reporters, Tai said the proposed mangosteen processing plant would likely be built at Trong, about 25km from Taiping.

He said they have received several proposals on setting up the plants but nothing firm was established yet.

Queen of fruits: A boy gazing at a bunch of mangosteens at a roadside stall in Bendang Siam, Taiping.

At the gathering, Mohammad Nizar said the state would welcome more investments, especially those related to high-tech industries.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

No council appointments in Perak yet - NST

IPOH: Jun 10, 2008

Where are the local councillors in Perak? Many are asking the Pakatan Rakyat state government this question as none has been appointed despite it being three months since the March 8 general election.

Adding his voice to the issue was the People's Progressive Party (PPP) National Youth chief, Senator T. Murugiah, who said the tripartite alliance had not got its act together.

"This goes to show the Pakatan Rakyat is inefficient although it has been in power for three months."

Murugiah, also deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said it was wrong to ask people to apply for the post as Pakatan Rakyat had done.

"They should identify qualified people to be appointed as councillors. It is wrong to ask the public to apply for the posts because it is not the same as applying for a job in the civil service."

He said the right people had to be appointed as the job carried a heavy responsibility and there was a need to interact with the public.

"How can the public accept the delay? The Ipoh City Council cannot function or implement policies without a council meeting."

The state government has allocated 100 out of the 349 councillors' posts in 15 local authorities to the public. The rest will be filled by political appointees.

Nearly 2,500 people, including doctors and lawyers, have applied to become councillors and will be interviewed from this week.

State Transport Committee chairman Nga Kor Ming said recently that only 207 out of 349 BN-appointed councillors had quit.

He had also said termination letters would be sent to councillors who had yet to quit.

Nizar feels snubbed by former MB - NST

GRIK: Jun 10, 2008 By Veena Babulal

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is miffed over his predecessor's reluctance to meet him.

"Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali has yet to greet me. He did not attend the handing over of duties like Barisan Nasional state chiefs did in Selangor, Kedah and Penang.

"He has not salaam me... many invitations have been sent to him but he has not replied," Nizar said.

Tajol Rosli is the assemblyman for Pengkalan Hulu, which comes under the Grik parliamentary constituency held by BN's Datuk Tan Lian Hoe.

Nizar was also upset over the election of village heads.

Speaking at a meeting with residents here yesterday, he asked: "Why does the Federal Government need to appoint village heads in Perak when there are already village heads legitimately elected by locals?"

He said 60 per cent of villages and districts had elected their chiefs.

"It is ridiculous to introduce a separate entity through a Federally-appointed 'committee'. This move is disruptive to harmony and it causes discord in communities who have made their democratic choice."

He said certain parties still wanted a piece of the state administrative pie.

"After 21/2 months of living under the rule of a new state government, are they still in denial? Have they still not come to terms with their defeat?

"We are now the legitimate administrators of Perak. We were endorsed by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah. If certain parties refuse to acknowledge our authority over the state administration, then it can be seen as disrespect to the ruler."

Monday, June 9, 2008

State govt wants detention centre moved out of Perak - The Sun

TAIPING (June 8) : By Humayun Kabir

The Perak state government wants the federal government to move the Kamunting detention centre out of Perak because it is a shame and embarrassment to the Pakatan Rakyat government.

"If the fderal gvernment thinks it is a pride, that it can be a showpiece to the world, they can shift (it) to Putrajaya," senior state executive council member Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said June 7.

"We hope this matter can be resolved soon,” Ngeh told reporters during a candlelight protest by about 500 supporters of the Abolish ISA Movement (AIM).

The protestors, comprising members of 83 organisations, had gathered at a mosque about 2km from the detention centre at 7.30pm before lighting up their candles and marching past three police roadblocks to the centre. They arrived at the centre at about 8.40pm.

Outside the centre, Ngeh spoke to Larut Matang OCPD ACP Raja Musa Raja Razak, who agreed to give the movement 15 minutes to make their speeches and disperse.

Two AIM members called for the abolishment of the ISA and the freeing of all the detainees at the centre.

“We feel that everybody (should be given) a chance to defend himself. The present laws under the ISA (operates on the) subjective discretion of the home minister (who can decide) whether a person is a threat to the national security or not. This is totally unacceptable ” said Ngeh, who is Beruas MP and Sitiawan state assemblyman.

“Under the laws before the amendment, a judge can question whether the grounds in which you suspect a person is a threat to the national security or not. The option then was not too bad.”

"But with the amendment, it is dictatorial and unsuitable for modern-day democracy.

"We call on the federal government to once again review the law (ISA) as more freedom should be given to the rakyat (to express themselves) so long as it is peaceful. We do not support rioting but the right to express should be given in a democratic society.”

The protesters dispersed peacefully at the end of the speeches.

Nizar: Federal Government interfering in village affairs - The Star

SITIAWAN: Jun 9, 2008

The Federal Government is practising a policy of “disintegration” by appointing its own village heads in Perak, says Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

“Now there are two village heads and that is very bad. It is not reflective of the national policy of integration,” he said.

“There is a lot of disintegration and that is not welcomed,” he said after meeting Felcra settlers at Lekir near here yesterday.

Nizar said the state had adopted guidelines for village heads to be elected since the Pakatan Rakyat government took over power after the March 8 polls.

Between 60% and 70% of the villages in the districts had completed the election of heads and the villagers were satisfied with that, he said.

However, he said, the Rural and Regional Development Ministry had re-appointed village heads who had resigned after the Pakatan Rakyat government took over power.

“The Federal Government has more or less interfered, and that is not fair,” he said.

Nizar said the Federal-appointed village heads would face problems as the state and villagers recognised only the elected ones.

Nizar also urged Felcra to allow settlers to elect their village heads instead of appointing them.

If Felcra agreed, he said, the settlement committee members could work with village committees and report to the penghulu (head) of a mukim (district).

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mana Pergi Keuntungan Petronas? - Malaysiakini

Jun 5, 2008

A peaceful protest for oil hike was held in Ipoh today by DAP led by YB Lim Kit Siang. The group demanded to now why Petronas' profit was not used to subsidized the oil price.

The steep increase in oil price announced by Pak Lah yesterday was unjustifiable and caused hardship to the Rakyat.

More protest will be held to demand the government to review the price increase.


Group protests petrol price hike

IPOH: June 4, 2008 The Star

A group of people gathered here Thursday to voice their dissatisfaction over the petrol price hike announced Wednesday by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The group of about 200 people, consisting DAP leaders, non-governmental organisations and unions, started assembling in front of the Federal Building here at Jalan Datuk Seri Ahmad Said at 11am and dispersed 30 minutes later.

The protesters carried placards and banners criticising the increase. No untoward incidents were recorded although several policemen were on standby.

Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran said Malaysia was a nett exporter of petroleum and it still had a lot of fuel reserve.

"The 40% increase will definitely bring hardship to the people as the price of goods will go up," he said, expressing outrage that the matter was not bought up during the recent Parliament sitting.

Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang said the increase was too high, too steep and too sudden.

"We were initially told that the increase would only be in August. It’s only June, so why the increase?" he asked, adding that the increase would lead to spiralling inflation.

Noting that the Government's announcement on Wednesday also caused traffic chaos nationwide between 7pm and midnight, Lim warned that with the increase, crime rate would also go up.

On calls by the Prime Minister to the rakyat to change their lifestyle to cushion the increase, Lim said:

"It is the Cabinet that should be changed. Stop wastage and corruption."

State Higher Education, Science, Technology and Communications Committee chairman Thomas Su Keong Siong said it was not true that petrol in Malaysia was among the cheapest in Asean countries.

"How can it be the cheapest when we pay the highest car excise duties and there is toll on major roads," he said, calling for the abolishment of toll.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Perak govt to reduce number of councillors to cut costs - The Sun

IPOH (June 4): By Humayun Kabir

The Pakatan Rakyat-led Perak state government will reduce the number of councillors in four of the nine districts in the state in order to cut costs.

State Education, Local Government, Housing and Public Transport Committee chairman Nga Kor Ming said the total number of councillors in the state will be reduced from 349 to 333.

Nga said the four districts are Grik, which will have 18 councillors instead of the previous 22, Lenggong 19 (23), Pengalan Hulu 16 (19) and Selama 18 (23).

He said 333 councillors will be selected from the total of 2,600 applicants for the posts.

The composition of the nine councils will consist of 93 members of the public, while PKR and Pas combined will get 119 councillor's seats and DAP will receive 104 seats. The remaining 17 seats will go to the government sector.

The selection of the new councillors will be conducted under section 10 (2) of the Local Government Act 1976 and their swearing-in will be carried out before the end of this month.

Nga said five of the 15 local government councils are facing financial difficulties, and the government will study their shortcomings and take the necessary action to rectify the situation.

He added that all schools in Perak will in future only pay a token sum of RM1 as quit rent

Hudud taruhan rundingan PAS-DAP - Malaysiakini

Jun 4, 08 3:01pm

PAS Perak mempertaruhkan idealismenya untuk melaksanakan hukum hudud dalam perundingannya dengan DAP menjelang saat-saat awal penubuhan kerajaan campuran Perak, demikian dedah pesuruhjayanya Ahmad Awang.

Syarat DAP itu selepas ia bersetuju menerima wakil rakyat PAS Datuk Seri Ir Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin sebagai menteri besar.

"Selepas kira-kira tiga jam perbincangan di antara pihak PAS yang diketuai saya dengan DAP yang diketuai pengerusi negeri Ngeh Koh Ham, pemimpin pusat DAP bersedia mengubah pendiriannya dengan mengenakan syarat supaya DAP diberi lapan jawatan exco dan PAS berjanji tidak melaksanakan hukum hudud dalam kerajaan campuran ini," kata Ahmad.

Dalam ucapannya bagi menyambut kejayaan parti itu mentadbir Perak yang disiarkan media rasmi PAS Harakahdaily, beliau berkata selepas campur tangan istana yang mengubah senario awal politik, tuntutan DAP agar PAS menggugurkan hudud tidak lagi berbangkit.

"Bagaimanapun syarat-syarat itu gugur kira-kira jam 11 malam setelah wakil PAS dan DAP dititah menghadap Tuanku di Istana Kinta," katanya.

"Yang paling penting syarat yang mereka kenakan iaitu lapan exco dan isu hudud gugur dengan sendirinya."

Ahmad mendedahkan saat-saat awal rundingan antara dua parti itu, sejurus selepas keputusan rasmi pilihanraya umum 8 Mac diketahui awal pagi keesokannya, sehingga ketegangan muncul apabila tokoh utama DAP Lim Kit Siang mengugut untuk memulaukan majlis angkat sumpah Mohamad Nizar.

Ketegangan sekali lagi muncul apabila PKR tidak berpuas hati dengan pengagihan jumlah kerusi exco. Parti itu mendakwa ia menerima satu jawatan sahaja.

Bagaimanapun keputusan akhir yang kekal hingga kini, DAP mendapat enam exco, PKR (tiga) dan PAS (satu).

Ahmad mengulangi saat-saat bersejarah PAS di negeri itu dalam satu taklimat kepada menteri besar baru-baru ini yang dihadiri 700 pemimpin-pemimpin parti itu, termasuk peringkat cawangan, di kediaman rasmi Mohamad Nizar.

Dalam ucapannya 'Enam kejayaan PAS Perak' di laman web PAS itu, Ahmad berkata kerjasama dalam pentadbiran negeri telah menjinakkan DAP yang dianggap "parti yang tidak begitu sehaluan dengan PAS" menjelang pilihanraya umum.

"Selepas pilihanraya ke-12 dan pembentukan kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat di Perak, pemimpin DAP bukan sahaja mudah bersefahaman dan mesra dengan pemimpin PAS di peringkat negeri, bahkan sentiasa menghormati pandangan pemimpin PAS sama ada mereka yang berada di dalam atau di luar kerajaan," katanya.

Beliau turut mendedahkan, Raja Muda Perak Raja Nazrin Shah juga mula berminat mengenali Mohamad Nizar selepas hari pertama rombongan ketiga-tiga parti itu menghadap baginda di Istana Kinta.

"Hubungan terus terjalin melalui beberapa pertemuan dengan pihak istana ketika menghadapi saat-saat kritikal mengenai pelantikan MB dari parti PAS," tambahnya.

Showcasing Ipoh’s history - The Star

Jun 4, 2008

THE Ipoh City Council’s tourist information centre should be opened on weekends and public holidays to accommodate the needs of tourists.

Datuk Bandar Datuk Mohamad Rafiai Moktar said the centre should ideally be opened during such times when there were more tourists visiting the city.

“Its present operation hours are 8am to 5pm, Mondays to Fridays.

“However, not that many tourists come to visit during weekdays,” he told reporters after opening the council’s new exhibition gallery at the centre near Ipoh Padang yester-day.

Ipoh Datuk Bandar Datuk Mohamad Rafiai signing a plaque to mark the opening of the Ipoh city council's exhibition gallery in the Perak Tourist Information Centre.

He said efforts were being made to modify the centre’s operating hours.

The newly unveiled gallery houses a mini audio-visual room and an exhibition of old photographs of the city, providing tourists with a glimpse of Ipoh’s olden days.

“We are working on expanding the gallery to tell the full history of the city.

“But to do that, we need help from the public.

“We want them to provide us with old photographs and documents,” said Mohamad Rafiai.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

BN govt left RM700 million in Perak coffers - The Sun

IPOH (June 3, 2008) : By Humayun Kabir

The former Perak government has shot down the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) administration's claim of shortage of funds, saying that it left RM700 million in the state coffers in the form of shares and bank deposits.

State Barisan Nasional chairman and former mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali said: "Our government did not leave the state treasury in the red as alleged by the PR-led government. "

He said PR politicians are going around the rural areas claiming there are no funds left for development as the money has been used up by the former BN government.

"This wrong perception conveyed to the rural people has put the BN government in a bad light and I had remained silent for so long. Now I am going to speak my mind and clear all the wrong and misleading allegations," he told a press conference this evening.

Tajol Rosli said the PR government had also been harping about the RM8 million in development funds being used up by the BN state assemblymen within 75 days from January this year, just before the general election.

To this, he said: "There is a RM180 million development fund allocated and left by the former state government. If RM8 million was used up as reported in the press, then the PR should ask questions about the balance of RM172 million remaining with the State Development Officer (SDO)."

Tajol Rosli also clarified that state assemblymen do not handle the development allocation directly.

"We only give our proposal and applications to the SDO on what development the funds are needed for. The SDO then approves the amount which is directly channelled by him through the district officers in the form of warrants into the projects that are proposed.

"So, how can PR claim we had misused the money when no cash is handled by any BN state assemblymen?" he asked.

He said all expenditures are accounted for by the SDO and there is no misuse of money as alleged. He suggested the PR government ask the SDO for the expenditure accounts of RM8 million.

"The PR should get their priorities right and first learn about accounting and auditing before commenting on the financial situation of the previous state government They might be lawyers but they have to learn a lot in financial matters," he added.

Tajol said he allocates state funds of RM75,000 to each assemblyman and an additional RM100,000 to each state Exco member, adding that the allocation is given in two tranches -- in January and June every year.

He said the allocation is for small projects in the assemblymen's constituencies and strict regulations have to be followed before the money is channelled.

Tajol Rosli said he will go on a BN roadshow tomorrow to dispel the allegations by the PR government. The first stop will be Sungai Siput, followed by Padang Rengas, Lenggong and Grik.

Squatters need new home fast - The Star

Jun 3, 2008

AN iced drink seller who has to care for three paralysed siblings is running short of time to move into a suitable home before their squatter home gets demolish-ed by the developer of the RM12.4bil electrified double track project from Ipoh to Padang Besar.

Salasiah Asri, 40, a divorcee, said she and her brothers Ahmad Arbain, 36, Mohd Ali, 26, and Mohd Isa, 27, who are paralysed from the waist down, lived in one of the 279 illegally built houses on land belonging to KTM Berhad off Jalan Sehala in Tai-ping.

They have been given until July 26 to move and Salasiah has been un-able to find a cheap home which would be suitable for her disabled brothers.

She added most of the houses for rent would cost between RM300 and RM350 a month.

“The cheapest place I could find was a Kampung Boyan flat which costs RM200 a month to rent but it is on the third floor of a six-storey walk-up block and is unsuitable for my three wheelchair-bound bro-thers,” she said.

Salasiah, who also has her two children and a sister Hasnah, 32, living with her, said she hoped a housing developer would come forward to help her find an affordable and suitable home to rent.

She said her brothers received a combined monthly allowance of RM300 from the state Welfare De-partment while Hasnah who work-ed as a cleaner at a private medical centre earns RM150 a month.

Salasiah said the RM1,000 ex-gratia offered by the state government to displaced ground tenants was only enough to cover three months of rent and utilities’ de-posit.

They were also promised a monthly rental of RM300 per month for two years.

The Perak Government also pled-ged to provide a plot of land at village settlements for displaced families to rebuild their homes within two years.

A source from the district office said the authorities would start de-molishing from June 27 so as not to further delay the double track project undertaken by MMC-Gamuda JV.

The alignment for the 329km Ipoh-Padang Besar double track project will cut across the four northern states. The project is scheduled for completion by January 7, 2013.

Seven Ipoh traders cook for a good cause - The Star

Jun 3, 2008

SADDENED by the plight of the Sichuan earthquake victims, seven traders in Kampung Tawas, Ipoh, held a charity sale to raise funds for them.

For six hours from 7am on Sunday, they cheerfully served customers char kuey teow, chicken rice and other Ipoh favourites and donated the proceeds.

The group raised RM9,029.10 for Yayasan Sin Chew’s earthquake fund.

Hawker Wong Fut Mooi, 46, said the seven of them came up the idea after hearing about the tragedy.

“I normally open for business from 3pm to 9pm, but this is for a good cause,” she related while busy at her wok, cooking up another plate of fried meehoon.

“Sometimes, people would just come by, drop something into our donation box and leave without even staying for a meal. One lady gave RM70,” Wong added.

Her fellow traders sold hawker fare, newspapers and other sundries at their respective stalls at the village.

Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran, who was also present, praised the traders for their initiative.

“Their efforts are a welcome addi-tion to the more than RM300,000 we received from the public. The DAP recently handed over the sum to the Chinese Embassy,” he said.

Also present was Bercham assemblyman Sum Cheok Leng