Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Economic Model (NEM) is No threat to special rights

KUALA LUMPUR - PRIME Minister Najib Razak urged the Malays to accept his new economic reforms last night, assuring them that their special rights and privileges would not be forgotten.

He said the proposed New Economic Model (NEM) is meant to bring the Malays and other races forward, so that the country would become a developed nation in the next 10 years.

'The NEM is not meant to sideline the special rights and privileges of the Malays, but it is to adopt a more dynamic method that is global and current,' he told about 1,000 delegates at the Malay Economic Congress, which was attended by 126 Malay non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

A big group of representatives from the NGOs also handed Datuk Seri Najib their resolutions, which called for the NEM to be reviewed.

Malay groups have been questioning the NEM since it was announced in March this year, as they fear that the government would drop their special rights.

Many of them complained that most Malays are still incapable of competing equally, and urged the government to review the policy. By Elizabeth Looi

Thursday, May 27, 2010

UMNO backed Railway Land Deals : Najib

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said yesterday that the supreme council of Malaysia's ruling party, Umno, backed the government's decision to relocate the Tanjong Pagar railway station to Woodlands by July 1 next year.

"My explanation was accepted by the supreme council and they are of the view that the solution is a win-win for both Malaysia and Singapore," Mr Najib was quoted as saying in a Reuters report.

Mr Najib and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the deal on the railway land on Monday, resolving an issue that has been outstanding for almost 20 years.

They said a company, M-S Pte Ltd, will be set up to take ownership of the vacated area, with 60 per cent of the equity held by Malaysian investment agency Khazanah Nasional Berhad and 40 per cent by Temasek Holdings.

Both sides will conduct valuations of the land and Mr Lee will visit Kuala Lumpur within a month with a proposal for a land swap.

The railway land could be swapped for real estate in two of Singapore's most expensive districts, including the site of the multibillion-dollar Marina Bay Sands casino complex, which opened last month.

Yesterday, former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad said other contentious bilateral issues - such as the price of water sold to Singapore, the retirement funds issue and the construction of a new bridge linking the two countries - should also be addressed quickly by Mr Najib's administration.

Mr Najib said: "We look at these in stages. One meeting cannot solve everything." He added: "I believe with trust, a lot of issues can be addressed."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Najib wants MIC to put house in order

JOHOR BARU: The Prime Minister wants the internal MIC conflict to be resolved fast.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said it was important for MIC, as a component party in Barisan Nasional, to play an important role in regaining the confidence of the people to support the ruling coalition.

He was commenting on the escalating conflict between MIC president Datuk Seri S.Samy Vellu and sacked party deputy Youth chief V.Mugilan - who had urged the president to relinquish his seat now.

The call for Samy Vellu's exit gained momentum when two other central working committee (CWC) members - G. Kumar Aamaan and K.P. Samy - joined the fray yesterday, demanding the long-time party president to go as soon as possible.

Najib however, did not want to comment on Samy Vellu's decision to step down as party president in September next year.

“I don't want to comment because it is an internal matter of MIC,” he said after opening the Aero Mall and Senai Aviation Park at Senai Airport here today.

Separately, MIC deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel reiterated his support for Samy Vellu.

He maintained his stand that Samy Vellu had to be the one to decide when to leave. “As for me, I have said in the past that I am a leader in my own right and I always like to work together with everyone. Many in the media have asked me the question whether I am ready to take the helm.

“My answer is very simple...when the delegates voted me in 2006 and in 2009 (as deputy president), they were sure that they were voting in someone capable and experienced. The president too has always said that I have the capability,” he added --Bernama.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Najib made history in Sibu - but still loses the election

SIBU - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak became the first Prime Minister to attend a celebration in honour of a Chinese deity on Wednesday but the historic visit opened him to criticism from the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) for being all too brief.

The Tua Pek Kong procession, held every three years, became a venue for leaders from both the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and PR's Democratic Action Party (DAP) to charm the Chinese voters who form about 67 per cent of the 54,695 Sibu voters.

The festival is one of the major events in Sarawak's tourism calendar.

About 7,000 participants from over 100 Chinese cultural and religious organisations from across the country took part in the procession. Thousands of people also lined the streets of Sibu town to watch the procession.

The Sarawak DAP chief, along with DAP opposition leader Lim Kit Siang, started gathering outside the temple as early as 6.30pm, an hour before the procession started. Announcements were also made over the temple's public address system for the crowd to loudly applaud Mr Najib's arrival.

About 10 minutes before the start of the procession, Mr Najib arrived with the BN candidate, Mr Robert Lau Hui Yew, for this Sunday's by-election. He was quickly ushered to the temple entrance to sign a plaque to commemorate his visit.

Mr Najib was then ushered back to his car before a temple official could present him with a picture of the temple as a souvenir.

With a lot of pushing and shoving and shouts of "Don't push!" from the crowd, Mr Najib was finally escorted to his car.

Via Twitter, Mr Lim who held on to his Blackberry while the minor commotion was going on, described Mr Najib's appearance as a "three minutes lightning visit".

"If in vital Sibu by-election Najib can only spare 3mins 4 120yr TuaPekKong Temple after so much publicity what does it imply?" twittered Mr Lim.

Mr Najib had earlier handed RM15 million ($6.5 million) in financial assistance to 65 Chinese schools as part of his attempt to win Chinese votes. THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

Sunday, May 9, 2010

No More Foreign Workers - Najib

Pitching for the local workforce, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has warned the employers against finding 'excuses' to hire foreign workers.

Malaysia has close to three million foreign workers from the neighbouring Southeast Asian countries and from South Asia, including significant numbers from India and Bangladesh.

Najib asked the employers to treat the local workers 'fairly' by offering reasonable salaries while launching the 2010 Workers' Day celebration here Saturday.

'Look for ways to improve things instead of taking the easy way out by finding all sorts of excuses to bring in foreign workers,' The Star quoted him as saying.

Traditionally, Malaysia imports semi-skilled and unskilled workers as the local population is either not trained or not inclined.

Najib also said the government would introduce a new scheme under the 10th Malaysia Plan to be known as 'shop floor training' to assist employers in providing in-house training. This, he said, would raise workers' skills.

'Instead of sending workers for skill upgrading training elsewhere, it will be conducted at their work place.

'I believe this is more practical and cost-effective and will result in workers earning more due to their improved skill,' he said.

While tackling global recession, the government ordered the removal of foreign workers from 'visible' jobs like the airports and replace them with the locals.

Malaysia has a large number of illegal workers who either enter the country with the help of recruiting agencies or come as tourists and stay on.

The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) has been urging the government to regularize these workers rather than import more.

Economic indicators show that Malaysia is improving

BUTTERWORTH, May 8 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Malaysia’s economic recovery is promising when compared with other countries.

Citing a report prepared by the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department, he said Malaysia’s economic growth was more encouraging than others.

“In the next few days, the government will announce the first-quarter Gross Domestic Product growth figure,” Najib said when opening the Pulau Pinang Malay Economic Convention here today.

The prime minister said although the global economy was still somewhat shaky with the weak stock market in Europe, yet, Malaysia managed to record impressive growth.

“Economic indicators show that Malaysia’s economic situation is improving,” he said, adding that the recovery stemmed from the government’s fiscal and financial initiatives.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Najib to UMNO members - Avoid Conspiracies

PEKAN, May 7 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak today reminded Umno members not to get involved in cliques or conspiracies as these two elements could lead to the party’s disintegration.

The prime minister said they should instead work together as a team and do things that were beneficial to the party and country.

“Our formula is to work as a single team and not get involved in cliques or conspiracies. We should be working to defeat the opposition and not do things which are detrimental to ourselves,” he said when simultaneously opening the meetings of several Pekan Umno branches here today.

Citing the example of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Japan, Najib (picture), who is also Umno president, said the downfall of the LDP, which is about the same age as Umno, was because of the two elements he mentioned.

“Recently, we heard a first-hand account from LDP leaders as to why the party crumbled in the last general election in Japan. One of the factors was that there were too many cliques in it and all kinds of conspiracies which ultimately led to its own downfall because they were spending more energy trying to outdo each other than looking after the interests of the people,” he said.

Najib said should one day Umno collapse, it would not be caused by others but because of infighting among Umno members.

He said continuous success required concerted ongoing effort and would not “fall on the lap”.

According to Najib, efforts must be taken to move further forward immediately after a general election and not wait to act just before an election comes.

“We have to plan systematically and execute our plans accordingly,” he said, adding that the results of the 2008 general election where the Barisan Nasional (BN) lost five states and its two-thirds majority in Parliament was a good lesson that things could not be taken for granted.

He said Umno members needed to change with the times and realise that what was of uppermost importance was the party and country and not factions that were only out to serve their own vested interests.

He added that Umno members could take comfort that Malays who deserted the party in the 2008 election had returned to the fold as evidenced in the just-concluded Hulu Selangor parliamentary by-election in opposition-held Selangor where the BN won. — Bernama

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Kelantan Royal Issue to be resolved amicably

Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today he hopes the crisis involving the Kelantan palace would be resolved amicably.

The prime minister said the crisis should not lead to open disputes to the point of accusations and counter accusations being hurled or legal action resorted to within the royal household.

“I hope the situation will be resolved within the royal household, that would the best rather than disputing matters openly, hurling accusations or resorting to legal action,” he told reporters after simultaneously opening the meetings of several Pekan Umno branches here today.

He said this when asked to comment on the crisis in the Kelantan palace which has been going on for some time, with the latest development being the hospitalisation of the Sultan of Kelantan Tuanku Ismail Petra at the Kubang Kerian Hospital in Kota Baru on Tuesday becoming a bone of contention among the disputing parties.

Najib said the matter (hospitalisation) should be resolved through discussions among the members of the royal family.

“The issue should be discussed within the family. That is the best solution and the Sultan of Kelantan’s health should be made priority,” he said.

Asked if the federal government would intervene, Najib said the matter involved the state and Kelantan palace and as such the federal government would not interfere.

“It is best that this (royal crisis) is settled within the family,” said Najib.

Commenting on the issue of Aminulrasyid Amzah, who was killed when hit by a bullet from shots fired by police while he was fleeing from pursuing patrol cars, Najib said he had requested for investigations on the case be done fairly and accurately.

“I believe the case will be solved quickly and the police and Attorney-General will accept any decision made based on the investigation’s findings,” he said.

To a question about the issue being a topic for bloggers to politicise, Najib said: “They are taking advantage of the issue while we are trying to seek the truth for Aminulrasyid’s family and the police.” — Bernama

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Public wants transparent inquiry into boy’s shooting - says Najib

SIBU: Police should not be defensive over the shooting of a schoolboy nor do anything that could be construed as trying to cover up for their men, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

While expressing regret over the shooting of Aminulrasyid Amzah, the prime minister said the investigations must be open and transparent as the public demanded this.

“The public wants answers and I hope the police will fully cooperate in the investigations,” Najib said at the Rajang Security Command military camp, home of the 9th Infantry Brigade, when he dropped by for lunch with officers and their wives.

The camp was one of seven places Najib visited in a hectic one-day programme here, which will see a by-election next week.

“The investigations should also satisfy the family of the victim as they have the right to know what really happened. I hope the police will cooperate and not cover up for anyone if they are wrong.”

Najib also warned the public against implying that the policemen were guilty before the investigations were completed.

“It is natural for the public to have the perception that the law enforcers are guilty when such incidents happen. The perception of guilt will always lie with the authorities.

“But we cannot be unfair, pass judgment or point fingers at anyone when we don’t have the complete facts.”

Najib also defended Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan, who has come under fire with calls for him to take responsibility for the shooting and resign.

“You cannot ask the IGP to step down after a single incident. Unless it (the incident) is the direct responsibility of the IGP ... (then) that’s a different story.”

The incident has been classified as murder and four policemen are being investigated for their role in the shooting.

Aminulrasyid, a Form Three student of SMK Section 9, Shah Alam, was shot while he was driving his sister’s Proton Iswara early on Monday.

Initial reports revealed that the victim, and a schoolmate, had grazed a car near a restaurant and were then chased by a group of motorcyclists and another car.

Two police cars reportedly joined in the chase and the policemen fired shots at Aminulrasyid’s vehicle to force him to stop.

Unconfirmed reports suggested that almost 20 shots were fired at the car. One of them struck the schoolboy in the back of the head, killing him instantly.

The car crashed into the retaining wall of a house some 100 metres from the victim’s home in Section 11, Shah Alam.

Police claimed they opened fire after Aminulrasyid tried to reverse his car into the policemen. They also claimed that they found a parang in the Proton Iswara.

The investigation papers, which were sent to the Attorney-General’s Chambers on Friday, were returned to police for further work.

A special committee headed by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop is overseeing investigations.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein urged the public to be fair and not have a negative perception of police.

In an interview with Bernama, Hishammuddin said the incident had put the police in a bad light.

He also urged all quarters to wait for the outcome of the investigations and to stop speculating or politicising the issue.

Najib is afraid to lose Sibu seat

SIBU: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak today reminded the Barisan Nasional machinery to regard the Sibu parliamentary seat by-election as a challenge that should be taken seriously.

He said in the spirit of solidarity in BN and in Sarawak, the BN machinery would run smoothly to ensure victory in retaining the seat.

"We may be facing a stiff contest, so we need to focus on our campaign efforts," he said after attending a luncheon and presenting the Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) medals to 32 state veterans of the Malaysian Armed Forces at the Rascom Camp, 9th Infantry Brigade, Jalan Ulu Koya, near here.

Also present were Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Peter Chin, Army chief General Ismail Jamaluddin and BN candidate for the Sibu by-election, Robert Lau Hoi Yew.

Asked on BN's chances of retaining the seat, Najib said BN would work hard towards that with the cooperation of all its component parties.

On his working visit and his walkabout in several areas here including Sungei Merah town, he said the local residents' reaction was encouraging.

He said he was also happy with the development projects being carried out or in the process of being implemented like the flood-mitigation project in Kampung Nangka.

The prime minister said from the walkabouts, he also received feedback on the needs of the local communities.

Earlier, he said an allocation would be approved to repair and renovate the surau and religious school at the Rascom Camp.

Among the recipients of the PJM medal today was Temenggong Kanang Langkau, 67, from Sri Aman, and also the first Malaysian to receive the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP) and Panglima Gagah Berani (PGB) medals for gallantry.