Thursday, June 30, 2005

"Petrol Prices May Very Well Go Up Again"

Petrol price Up Again? Posted by Hello

In less than 2 years in office, Prime Minister Pak Lah has been ruling in the world of economic & likely, political uncertainties. The price of crude oil have risen sharply over the last two years from USD26 to the present price that lingers in the USD60 region.

In view of this development, without doubt, the domestic fuel prices has caused increase of far greater amount of subsidies.

Recently, the Prime Minister has given a broad hint that the retail price of petrol could be revised because of the high price of crude oil.

“We have to make preparations, and if they are tough and a little terrible, we all have to be patient,” Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said when asked whether the Government would increase petrol prices. He was speaking to reporters at the end of his visit to the Integrity Institute of Malaysia here yesterday.

Petrol prices went up by 10 sen a litre last month. Abdullah, who is also Finance Minister, said the Government would also have to review this year’s economic forecast. “We have to make new forecasts which take into account the high price of petroleum,” he said.

Bank Negara had earlier forecast that the Gross Domestic Product this year would be between 5% and 6%. Asked whether petroleum subsidies would be removed, he said that was not something which was impossible. He said action was necessary as the price of petroleum was very high now. The price of crude oil surged to a record US$60 (RM228) plus per barrel on June 20.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"Isa the only one so far"

Isa the only one so far, says Abdullah

Hamidah Atan; Patrick Sennyah
New Straits Times
Isa the only one so far, says Abdullah
Byline: Hamidah Atan; Patrick Sennyah
Edition: Main/Lifestyle

PUTRAJAYA, Tues. - Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad is the only Umno supreme

council member to have been investigated by the party's disciplinary
board so far.

Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today he did not

think any more investigations were under way.

Saying the board had investigated all allegations, he added: "As of

now, based on information, Tan Sri Isa is the only Umno supreme council

member to have been investigated by the board."

The Prime Minister said this after a half-day working visit to the

Health ...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

"Discard Cin Cai Attitude"

June 28, 2005, NST CINCAI Posted by Hello

PM: Discard 'cincai' attitude
By Shahrum Sayuthi, NST

Pak Lah calls all civil servants not to take their duties and deal with problems in a CINCAI way.

Pak Lah wants all civil servants to take their duties seriously and deal with problems with compassion and fairness towards all involved.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, addressed this message in a gathering of civil servants in Kuantan, Pahang.

According to Pak Lah, these were the core principles of positive action applicable to all, including himself.

"It does not matter whether we smile or scream when taking action, as that is just a matter of working style. What is more important is that our decision must be acceptable to all, even if not everyone is going to be happy about it. This advice is not just for all of you as I am also listening to what I say. I don’t want anyone to say I don’t ‘walk the talk’."

Also present at the gathering, held at the Sultan Ahmad Shah Silver Jubilee Hall here, were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.

The Prime Minister call on those given the task of handling an organisation not to shirk their duties even if it meant making unpopular decisions.

"It is not a pleasure doing such a thing but this is our work and we cannot avoid responsibilities. It is irresponsible for us not to do what is required of us just for the sake of making everyone happy. As a leader, if we are not willing to do it, we should resign. We might as well go and plant vegetables somewhere so that no one will be angry with us."

Abdullah also told the 1,000 civil servants present to ensure that projects to be implemented must truly benefit the people. "If it turns out that a project is not really necessary, maybe it should be shelved for the time being."

He said government departments and agencies needed to thoroughly assess the impact of every project, and their implementation must meet the needs of the people.

"We must discard the cincai (slapdash) attitude and get to the bottom of things to improve our services to the people."

Abdullah also reminded civil servants to discard their "third-class mentality" and provide quality service in keeping with the first-class infrastructure provided by the Government.

He said they must strive to improve their performance as there was "no such thing as no room for improvement". "You must value-add yourself so that you have the necessary knowledge to improve your work and also observe good values."

Abdullah also stressed the need for civil servants to improve the governance delivery system. "Just imagine yourself in the place of members of the public trying to get your services. It is indeed frustrating to hear about things such as people having to wait for years to get their house ready, or if ready, was not built according to specifications. They have the right to be angry and, in fact, I am also angry about such things."

Abdullah said civil servants should always bear in mind that the Government would have to bear the brunt of the people’s wrath if they had to put up with unsatisfactory services.

"Every day I read of people cursing us politicians and administrators for the bad services they have to endure. That is why I have to keep on reminding everyone to improve their performance."

Friday, June 24, 2005

"Projects worth RM8b to be revived"

Projects worth RM8b to be revived

Chok Suat Ling; Azura Abas; Ranjeetha Pakiam
New Straits Times
Projects worth RM8b to be revived
Byline: Chok Suat Ling; Azura Abas; Ranjeetha Pakiam
Edition: Main/Lifestyle
Memo: Dewan Rakyat

THE Government plans to revive between 70 and 80 abandoned projects worth

about RM8 billion to breathe new life into the flagging construction

Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said, according to the

Implementation and Co-ordination Unit, the projects were facing problems

and could not be completed.

"We will take proper action and replace the contractors with new ones

to finish the projects," Samy Vellu said at the Parliament lobby


He said contractors had ...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"Big Fish Hauled Up"


Zubaidah Abu Bakar; Hamidah Atan
New Straits Times
Byline: Zubaidah Abu Bakar; Hamidah Atan
Edition: Main/Lifestyle

KUALA LUMPUR, Mon. - Several top-ranking Umno officials will appear

before the party's disciplinary board this week to answer charges of
vote-buying in last year's party polls.

The politicians, including some who had contested the three

vice-presidents' posts, have been sent show-cause letters to attend the

inquiry on Thursday and Friday, party sources said today.

Members of the disciplinary board and the officials refused to comment

on this development.

However, sources said that at least seven people, some of them elected

to the ...

Monday, June 20, 2005

"Towering Putera"

'Towering' Putera the future

M.K. Megan; Tan Choe Choe
New Straits Times
'Towering' Putera the future
Byline: M.K. Megan; Tan Choe Choe
Edition: Main/Lifestyle

MALACCA, Sun. - Members of Putera Umno must be nurtured to determine the

directions of the country's future progress.
They should be guided in discipline and courtesy to be spirited,

diligent and free from misdeeds and scandals.

Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wants members of the

newly formed Putera Umno to project these qualities to the world.

"This is our biggest hope, and your biggest challenge now," the Prime

Minister told 32,000 youths between 18 and 25 gathered at Stadium Hang

Tuah in the heart of Malacca tonight.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

"Giving more money to Chinese-language schools would not help national integration"

School trends reveal cracks in Malaysia's unity

KUALA LUMPUR: When Steven Gan, now 42, went to school, it was perfectly ordinary for Malaysians of all races to attend a government primary school.

"We got a good education then at state schools, and it was genuinely multiracial," Gan said. The language of instruction was English until race riots struck the nation in 1969; after that, instruction was in Malay.

Gan, who is Chinese, runs an online news portal called Malaysiakini, which employs Malaysians of all races and backgrounds. He credits his education for the friends and colleagues he has across racial divides in a country where about 58 percent of the population is Malay, a little more than a quarter is Chinese and about 7 percent is Indian.

Gan feels that he was among the lucky ones - part of the last generation to have enjoyed such a rounded education in a shared language. Not only were his fellow students of all races, but his teachers were, too.

Things aredifferent now.

Deciding on a language of instruction for their children - whether it is Malay, Chinese, English or Tamil - has become a conundrum for many families. It goes to the core of a larger question that nags this multiethnic nation: What constitutes Malaysian identity?

Is there one Malaysian way, requiring Chinese and Indian Malaysians to become ever more Malaysian? Or does Malaysian identity consist of varied cultures and languages that are, or ought to be, of equal standing?

Parents complain that the quality of state-run schools has dropped while Islamic content has increased. Some Malay parents send their children to Chinese-language schools, although they are more expensive because of a lack of government support.

Racial distinctions in Malaysia and the government policy of supporting a single national school system in the Malay language make choosing a school a political minefield.

The governing United Malays National Organization stakes its claim to power on protecting Malay identity and opportunity.

But many non-Malay Malaysians, like Chinese and Indians, say they face discrimination and want a more pluralistic education system and society.

Razak Baginda, executive director of the privately funded Malaysian Strategic Research Center, is - like Gan - proud to have benefited from multiracial state schools. But when he sent his daughter to one, she became uncomfortable with pressure to observe Islamic tradition andwear a head scarf.

"My daughter told me the religious teachers are the culprits," Razak said. "They inculcate very negative views of the other religions. They always have a them-and-us attitude that is very destructive, I think. And the standards have really gone down."

He added, "That feeling that standards have gone down and racial polarization is far worse today than ever before - you can attribute that to rising Islamization, which is pretty obvious."

The government has long insisted that state funds will go to state schools, where instruction is in Malay. Primary schools that teach in other languages must seek private money to supplement limited government assistance.

Government planners are starting to tackle thorny subjects such as language, education and budgets in preparation for the country's next five-year plan, which is expected to be released by the end of this year.

There was an indication in March of just how sensitive the issue is, when Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi was reported to have said that giving more money to Chinese-language schools would not help national integration.

The statement angered Malaysian Chinese and forced one of Abdullah's Chinese staff members to issue a denial of the comments. Malaysiakini reported that the denial only increased anger at what was perceived as the divisiveness of government policy, because it was issued only to the Chinese media and not to the Malay media.

Another recent example of this conflict was a statement by Lim Keng Yaik, the leader of the small political party Gerakan and a member of the cabinet. After he said he thought there was too much religion in the national schools, he was vilified by the largely government-controlledmedia and later backed away from the comment.

But as Syed Nadzri, a columnist for the Malaysia-based The New Straits Times newspaper, wrote recently: "The whole episode was nothing but a true reflection of the tottering perspective of the country's education system. It was something already well known but somehow not talked about too openly."

Educators also complain about the government program of positive bias toward Malays, known as the New Economic Policy, which was introduced after the race riots in 1969 to dampen Malay fears of being overtaken economically by the Chinese.

The policy is still debated more than 35 years later as the country continues to struggle with inequities across racial lines. Critics say it has granted unfair privileges and wealth to Malays - often those linked to the governing party.

Meanwhile,bright young professionals of other races have left the country in what is seen as a Malaysian brain drain.

This policy is also said to have affected hiring policies at government schools in favor of Malays, who are Muslim, sometimes at the expense of better-qualified Chinese or Indian Malaysians.

The government has trouble providing schooling for everyone because it is perceived to be offering lower-quality education. More difficulties arise when Muslim headmasters want to advocate Islamic values by limiting physical education or other activities in which boys and girls might mix, reading the Koran through the public address system, putting boys into long trousers instead of shorts, segregating classrooms and banning school concerts.

The struggle over education and its language predates Malaysia's independence from Britain in 1957. Chinese-language schools were established in 1815. By 1946, there were 1,078 Chinese primary schools with 168,303 students.

Since then, the student population has grown to 640,000, while the number of Chinese-language primary schools has increased only to 1,283.

Rather than help with more funding for Chinese schools, however, the government would rather encourage more parents to choose national schools first, in the name of nation-building.

Kua Kia Soong, principal of the Chinese-language New Era College, said it had to wait for years before the government finally gave it permission to open in 1998. The government has yet to allow the college to issue degrees.

"But why they aren't allowing more vernacular schools is simple: It's an UMNO agenda,"Kua said, referring to the United Malays National Organization, the source of every prime minister of Malaysia since independence.

"The ultimate objective of the education policy," Kua said, "is to do away with all the vernacular schools because they want Malay to be the sole medium, with the rest just subsidiary. So all through the years and all the controversies, you'll find that it's always some measure or policy toward that."

Thursday, June 2, 2005

"War on corruption a continuous effort"

Abdullah: War on corruption a continuous effort

New Straits Times
Abdullah: War on corruption a continuous effort
Edition: Main/Lifestyle

KUALA LUMPUR, Wed. - The Prime Minister's war on corruption is a

continuation of efforts from past administrations to purge the scourge
from all levels of Malaysian society.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said his administration was focused on

intensifying the fight against graft, just like that of his predecessor

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Abdullah said the Government's continued war on corruption could be

seen in numerous efforts to clean up the police and create a lean civil