Sunday, August 31, 2008


Transport Minister studies requests to remove Puspakom's exclusivity


KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat MPs, non-governmental organisations and public transport groups are calling for an end to Puspakom’s monopoly.

Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat said yesterday that he was considering requests from these quarters to allow other companies to offer services provided by Puspakom (Computerised Vehicle Examination Centre).

“We have to look at the current concession agreement and also the negotiations with Puspakom. We have to see if we are bound by any agreement,” he said.

“So far, there are no business proposals yet. Just the proposal to remove Puspakom’s exclusivity,” he said after launching a Chinese art painting and calligraphy exhibition at Nirvana Memorial Centre.

However, Ong would not be drawn into revealing when the study on the proposal to end Pusapkom’s monopoly would be completed or when a decision would be made.

Puspakom has been in the news lately because of the swoop by Anti-Corruption Agency on its staff.

Ong said the arrests had affected the company’s capacity and services.

He said he had also asked the Road Safety Department and the Road Transport Department to identify the vehicles that had supposedly been passed by corrupt Puspakom inspectors.

Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Ashfar Ali welcomed the idea of removing Puspakom’s exclusive rights.

He proposed that the industry be de-regularised by allowing independent workshops with certified mechanical engineers to inspect vehicles, just like panel workshops appointed by insurance companies to carry out repairs.

Pan Malaysian Lorry Owners Association president Er Sui See said that without the exclusivity to hide behind, Puspakom would have to buck up or lose customers.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Car Dealers and Credit Companies Association vice-president Dave Lim said the Government should look at how other countries implement their vehicle-inspection systems.

“When there are more operators, there is more competition, which leads to more efficient service. Giving it to one company means there is absolute power, which will lead to corruption,” he said.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Indian Taxi Owners and Drivers Association secretary S. Balakrishnan said Puspakom officers had grown arrogant.

“They know that we have to tolerate them to get our vehicles approved. Let’s see how they operate when they have competition,” he said.


Friday, August 29, 2008


Graft in Puspakom: How the ACA cracked it wide open...
By : Minderjeet Kaur

KUALA LUMPUR: They came in as newly-employed staff and made efforts to blend in with Puspakom workers involved in inspecting and certifying vehicles as roadworthy.

For three months, the newbies quietly went about their work, but their eyes and ears were wide open.

They studied every move made by Puspakom staff, seemingly eager to learn the ropes as traffic wardens, administrative staff, personal assistants to senior officers and even "tea boys".

So successful were these newbies that the Puspakom staff didn't know what hit them when in a nationwide blitz, dozens of them were picked up by the Anti-Corruption Agency for accepting bribes to certify the roadworthiness of vehicles without even inspecting them.

The newbies were undercover ACA officers.

A Transport Ministry source said the undercover officers were placed in strategic positions at all Puspakom centres nationwide since May.

"Their job was to zoom in on those accepting bribes from runners and syndicates," she said.

The round-up began on Sunday and continued yesterday.

The source said the bribes were shared by senior and junior officers involved in inspecting vehicles. She said some staff took home RM50,000 every month.

"The majority of those caught were junior officers tempted to take large sums in bribes. The senior officers would later take a cut for certifying the vehicles as roadworthy.

"Officers who have an aversion to bribes succumbed to peer pressure. This is because the corrupt ones need the assistance of everyone involved in inspecting the vehicles," she said.

To send a vehicle for inspection, the owner or the runner will make an appointment with Puspakom. Once the date is fixed, the vehicle owner or his runner has to wait in line for the inspection.

The inspection is carried out in several stages by various staff. Vehicles undergo inspection involving the chassis, smoke emission, tyres and brakes, among others.

"This is why the officers had to work as a team to collect bribes," the source said.

"Some of the certified vehicles were not even at Puspakom centres for the checks," she said.

This is where the senior officers played their role. They "close both eyes" and certify the vehicles as roadworthy.

"Almost everyone will receive a cut. This is why there are so many cars, buses and lorries that are not roadworthy still on the road," she said.

Those involved in giving the bribes are runners who are banded together in syndicates.

"The runners are constantly in touch with Puspakom staff. They also know used car dealers well and act as middlemen for Puspakom and the car dealers," she said.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Anwar is Permatang Pauh MP (Final update)

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has won the Permatang Pauh by-election.

The PKR de-facto leader was returned to Parliament with a majority of 15,671 votes, exceeding the 13,388-vote majority won by his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in the March 8 general election.

Anwar garnered 31,195 votes to beat Barisan candidate Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, who polled 15,524 votes, while Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia candidate Hanafi Hamat lost his RM15,000 deposit after getting only 92 votes. There were 447 spoilt votes.

"This is the people's victory," Anwar said in a victory speech.

"Permatang Pauh has given a clear signal to the leadership of this country. We demand change. We want freedom. We don't want to live with corruption and oppression.

"We want an independent judiciary, we want the economy to benefit the vast majority not the corrupt few," he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the result was proof that democracy was still alive in the country and there was no manipulation involved.

"As we have pointed out right from the start, we would be facing a tough challenge," he said.

The closely watched by-election was called after Dr Wan Azizah resigned as the MP on July 31 to enable her husband to run for election.

Anwar held the seat for four terms before he was sacked from his Deputy Prime Minister's post in 1998 under corruption and sodomy charges.

Dr Wan Azizah, who had been known as a reluctant politician, won the seat for a third term in March.

A mammoth crowd comprising PKR leaders and supporters gathered early at the tallying centre at the Tuanku Bainun Teacher Training College in Bukit Mertajam to celebrate Anwar's victory.

Supporters in the crowd let off fireworks as returning officer Roslan Yahaya announced the results about 10pm.

Voter turnout was relatively high, at about 80% of the total of 58,459 registered voters in the constituency.

Barisan was the underdog from the start in the hard-fought by-election that Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak described as a titanic challenge.

Anwar’s convincing victory was reminiscent of his heyday, when he secured a stunning 23,515-vote majority in the 1995 general election by polling 27,945 votes. In Tuesday's polling, 47,258 voters cast their ballots, or 80.83% of the 58,459 total number of voters.


Sunday, August 24, 2008


Friday, August 22, 2008

Perodua introduces facelifted Myvi

Posted by: Anthony Lim

Perodua today introduced its facelifted Myvi, and the freshened up hatchback features a decent number of revisions and refinements, all of which should help to keep the quarter-million volume seller a winner.

New face - it's a meatier front.

Exterior-wise, the car gets a minor style reworking - at the front, there's a new, beefier looking nose section courtesy of a new hood, with corresponding grille, logo and front bumper in tow.

At the rear, there's a new, wider bumper and the styling of the two reflectors on it have been revised. Also, the rear lamp assembly now features the use of LEDs. The car also features the use of new glass, which offer improved ultraviolet rejection, with up to 91% reduction.

Inside, while the cabin layout remains pretty much unchanged, the updated vehicle features a new interior colour as well as new seat fabric upholstery, and a new colour Optitron instrument cluster, which features three instrument meters as opposed to the two on the previous version.

Can you spell Optitron?

Oh, and there's a new entertaiment system to boot - this one is M3/WMA-capable, has a USB port and offers Bluetooth connectability.

What else? Well, on the Premium version, you get a shopping hook on the backrest of the front passenger seat, perfect for carrying takeaways, as well as a seat height adjuster.

The choice of 1.3l and 1.0l twin-cam DVVT powertrains and auto/manual drivetrains continue as before, but two new body colours have been added, these being Medallion Grey and Caribbean Blue, and join Glittering Silver, Klasik Gold, Ebony Black, Pearl White, Mistik Red and Ivory White in the entire 1.3L variant lineup (the 1.0SR model has all but the special metallic Pearl White as a colour choice).

And what the rear looks like.

Prices for the five variant lineup (on the road, with insurance and road tax, in Peninsular Malaysia) are:

1.0 SR (five-speed manual only) - RM38,924 (solid), RM39,447 (metallic)

1.3 SX (five-speed manual) - RM43,400 (solid), RM43,900 (metallic)

1.3 EZ (four-speed auto) - RM46,400 (solid), RM46,900 (metallic)

1.3 SXi (five-speed manual) - RM46,200 (solid), RM46,700 (metallic)

1.3 EZi (four-speed auto) - RM49,200 (solid), RM49,700 (metallic)


Friday, August 15, 2008


Our best hope

BEIJING (Aug 14, 2008): Malaysian shuttler Lee Chong Wei is just a match away from an Olympic medal after breezing into the men's singles semifinals with an easy 21-9, 21-11 win over Indonesia's Sony Dwi Kuncoro today.

Chong Wei, the second seed behind China's world champion Lin Dan, will face either Bao Chunlai, also of China, or Lee Hyunil of South Korea in the last four scheduled for this evening at the

Lee Chong Wei gestures in triumph after defeating Sony
Beijing University of Technology gymnasium.

"Bao and Lee are two very tough players. I will not spend time thinking about them, how good they are. All I want is to focus and prepare the best I can," said the 26-year-old who is rated Malaysia's best medal hope from the onset.

Chong Wei admitted that being the sole shuttler left in contention has racheted up the pressure on him as he becomes Malaysia's second singles player to qualify for the Olympic semifinals after Rashid Sidek who returned with a bronze medal from Atlanta in 1996.

"I am not thinking of any medal now but to take one match at a time. I will take a rest and watch the television this evening when Bao and Lee play instead of coming to the stadium," he added.

Chong Wei had a tensed start against Sony, the Athens bronze medallist, but when he reached 11-8, the Malaysian played with better confidence and when he got into stride, his Indonesian rival buckled under the quick attacks and rapid pace.

"I didn't expect it to be an easy victory but today was not too good a performance from me. I chased every ball and my game strategy was to be quicker at the net," he said of the 32-minute encounter.

He is the only shuttler left after Thursday saw the exits of women's singles Wong Mew Choo and men's pair of Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong at the quarterfinal stage.

Malaysia is counting on the badminton team to get a rostrum finish. Since its inclusion in the 1992 Barcelona Games, it is the only sport to deliver one silver and two bronze medals but after the 1996 Atlanta Games, Malaysia had returned empty handed from Sydney and Athens.

But Lee played down his victory , and was circumspect about his chances of causing an upset over China to clinch gold, saying although he had beaten their three players before, they were enjoying home ground advantage.

"Maybe it's too tough for me but I'll try," he said of possibly reaching the final where, barring a major upset, he would meet world No. 1 Lin Dan.

To whet the appetite of the athletes to break the drought, the government announced before the departure to Beijing a RM1 million bounty for the first gold and RM300,000 and RM100,000 for the silver and bronze respectively.


Thursday, August 14, 2008


U.S. flies aid into Georgia, backs ceasefire

By Matt Robinson and Margarita Antidze

TBILISI (Reuters) - U.S. military planes began delivering aid to Georgia as Washington stepped up support for a shaky ceasefire with Russian troops around the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks during a news conference, on the situation in Georgia, at the State Department in Washington August 13, 2008. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was set to hold talks in Tbilisi on Thursday after discussions in France with President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday. Her trip comes six days into a conflict that has shifted from artillery, tank and gun battles at the weekend to increasingly sharp diplomatic and political exchanges out of Washington, Moscow and Tbilisi.

U.S. President George Bush, flanked by Rice and Defence Secretary Robert Gates in the Rose Garden, demanded Moscow end the crisis, abide by an agreed ceasefire and withdraw Russian troops sent into Georgia after fighting began last Thursday.

"The United States of America stands with the democratically-elected government of Georgia. We insist that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia be respected," Bush told reporters at the White House.

Moscow has denied violating a ceasefire and rejected claims its troops and armour had advanced on Tbilisi or looted the key town of Gori, 60km (35 miles) west of the capital and south across the Kura river from South Ossetia's capital Tskhinvali.

Speaking in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, told by Rice that Russian servicemen were failing to prevent looting by irregular militias in Gori, said such actions would not be tolerated.

"I said from the very beginning that if any such facts prove true, we will react in the most serious way...The peaceful population should be protected. We are investigating all these reports and will not allow any such actions," Lavrov said.

Human Rights Watch, a U.S.-based organisation with staff in Georgia, said its onsite researchers had witnessed looting of ethnic Georgian villages in South Ossetia, the rebel province at the heart of the current conflict.


Lavrov said the United States needed to choose between partnership with Moscow or the Georgian leadership, which he characterised as a "virtual project" of the Bush administration.

Rice bristled when asked about Lavrov's comments.

"Georgia is a democratic government in the caucasus that has elected leaders. To call it a project of anyplace, of anybody, perhaps belies more about what Russia thinks about its neighbours that what it thinks about U.S. policy," Rice said.

Bush, who spoke with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili earlier in the day, ordered humanitarian supplies to be delivered to Tbilisi on U.S. military aircraft.

A U.S. C-17 military aircraft carrying supplies arrived in Georgia and a second flight was planned for Thursday.

Bush said the United States expected Russia to allow humanitarian supplies into Georgia and ensure that all lines of communication and transport remain open.

Speaking in Tbilisi, Saakashvili said Bush's pledge meant Georgian ports and airports would be taken under U.S. military control -- a claim swiftly denied by the Pentagon.

The fighting in the Caucasus, an important transit for Caspian oil, has unnerved the United States, NATO and the European Union and rattled investors.

Russia says 1,600 civilians died when Georgia attacked South Ossetia, though the figure has not been independently verified. Moscow's general Staff says it lost 74 soldiers in the fighting, with 171 wounded and 19 missing.

Tbilisi puts deaths on its side at over 175, with hundreds injured. That figure does not include South Ossetia.

Moscow announced an emergency aid package for South Ossetia, with Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin pledging 10 billion roubles ($414 million) to rebuild the shattered region.

(Additional reporting by Sue Pleming and Tabassum Zakaria in Washington, Dmitry Solovyov in Vladikavkaz, Oleg Shchedrov in Moscow)

Copyright © 2008 Reuters


Khalid: My statement was taken out of context

SHAH ALAM: "It was blown out of proportion and taken out of context."

Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said this in response to the negative reaction to his suggestion that 10 per cent of places at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) be allocated to non-Bumiputeras.

Abdul Khalid said he made the suggestion in response to a question from the press about the admission of foreign students and non-Bumiputeras to UiTM.

He said it was made in the context of raising the standards of institutions of higher learning, so that the Malays and other Bumiputeras could improve their career prospects.

He said the suggestion was not a policy of the Pakatan Rakyat state government. The state government, he added, would continue to uphold the Federal Constitution and the special rights of the Malays.

He said his personal stand on the matter did not mean he was ignoring the special rights of Bumiputeras.

"It is regrettable that the issues had been taken out of context and made into a racial issue," he said after the weekly state Executive Council meeting yesterday.

He added that he was aware that UiTM was established to improve the status of Bumiputeras.

"In fulfilling the aspirations of Malays, UiTM should not merely focus on the issue of quotas but also on improving quality and facilities at the university so it will be respected."

He said the statement was not an apology. He said it was his belief that universities must be open in order to develop.

"All world renowned universities progress because there is openness and exchange of ideas."


Wednesday, August 13, 2008


PM: No power abuse in power transition
By Husna Yusop

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 12, 2008) : Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today brushed off an accusation that he and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak were politically corrupt in arranging the transition of power by middle of 2010.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Abdullah said the decision to inform Umno members about the transition was made by the party supreme council (MT), not out of a "silent conspiracy" between the two top leaders.

He said he informed the MT of the outcome of his discussions with Najib and they accepted it and felt that party members should be informed so that they can understand the issue.

"That was an important matter which the MT decided should be announced. It was related to transition of power; definitely all members must know. So, that was the reason. It was not me and Najib quietly conspiring about this. No!" he said.

He was asked to comment on the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) report lodged by veteran Selangor Umno leader Datuk Mazlan Harun last week against Abdullah and Najib for alleged abuse of power.

Mazlan had said the report was based on a letter written by Petaling Jaya Selatan Umno division head Kapt (R) Datuk Zahar Hashim which accused the two of "political corruption of the highest order."

In the letter addressed to the Umno secretary-general, Zahar said the two top leaders had been campaigning to defend their positions despite asking others not to do the same, adding their actions had violated guidelines issued by party headquarters.

Speaking to reporters after launching the Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture & Agrotourism Show (MAHA) 2008 here, Abdullah said he did not know who were the Umno Sabah division head and secretary investigated by the ACA for alleged involvement in money politics as reported in a Malay daily today.

He said there could have been certain aspects which had involved the ACA, resulting in the Umno headquarters allowing the agency to come in and investigate.

"It depends on the particular case," he added.

Asked to comment on Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s statement that money politics was quite rampant in the party’s division and even branch elections, Abdullah said there may be some truth to this as he (Abdullah) also had heard about such stories.

"I hope those involved in such activities will stop it. It is meaningless to seek popularity using money politics. It would not be genuine for someone to get support and victory by means of money politics.

"We want a person to be supported because of his capability, ability and good deeds, proven to have helped in the party’s struggle, helped the people and the likes. That is the yardstick we should use for someone to be entrusted to hold a certain position in the party," he said, adding the same should be applied to government posts.

Abdullah said money should not be a factor when choosing a leader, adding if that was the case, only the rich can be leaders.

Asked to comment on some views that it was meaningless for Umno to take disciplinary action against party members but later allow them to take part in contests, he said some probably think the penalty was light.

"These people think after serving their term, those penalised will start committing the same offence again. I hope those who had used it (money politics) and have faced action will not use money politics again in future," he added.

He said it was okay for someone who has been disciplined to be given a chance to contest in the elections.

"Punishment in cases related to money politics also has its limits. After they have served their punishment, they are free to contest for posts and move about as before," he added.

In another development, Abdullah said Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim does not have the power to determine the intake quota for Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) students.

"Matters pertaining to student intake are related to the institution concerned. They have the power to decide on their policy," he added.

Khalid had suggested for 10% of the current student quota at UiTM be opened to non-Bumiputras and foreign students to raise the quality of education and spirit of competition among students there.

This morning, some 5,000 UiTM students took part in a 2km protest march from Dataran Shah Alam, to hand over a seven-page memorandum to Khalid.

The document was accepted by Khalid's press officer Hazril Abu Hassan. The event was staged to protest Khalid's suggestion.



U.S.-Russia ties soured further by Georgia crisis

By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Washington's poor relations with Moscow have soured further over Russia's military action against Georgia and experts say it will be impossible for President George W. Bush to mend them before his term ends.

An unidentified military aircraft is seen near anti-missile flares over the town of Gori, about 80 km from Tbilisi, August 12, 2008. (REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

"This is the most intense crisis in U.S.-Russia relations since the end of the Cold War," said Russia expert Stephen Jones, a professor at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.

With just months before Bush leaves office in January, 2009, there had been efforts to focus on areas of cooperation and paper over disagreements on a missile defense shield in Europe proposed by Washington and a strong U.S. push for NATO membership for Georgia.

But experts say a rapprochement is unlikely and Russia's actions in Georgia will make it tough for a new U.S. president -- whether it is Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain, who has taken a hard line against Russia.

"This is a setback for U.S.-Russia relations and it will make it very difficult for this administration to push forward any kind of positive initiative," said James Collins, former U.S. ambassador to Russia.

He predicted Russia's military action in Georgia and its breakaway regions, would also make it harder for "pragmatists" in Washington.

"This will confirm the views of those that have been Russia critics and have taken the harder line. They will be saying, 'I told you so,'" said Collins, now with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

A senior U.S. official warned that Russia's integration into the World Trade Organization and other global clubs may now be at stake because of its actions in Georgia, adding "that's what's at stake when Russia engages in behavior that looks like it's from another time."

Former senior State Department official Steven Pifer predicted the focus of the administration in the waning months would be more on Afghanistan and Iraq rather than Russia.

"Unless someone has a particularly brilliant idea to give it some impetus, there should be a do-no-damage mode (with Russia) before January 2009," he said.


Although the Georgia crisis has damaged ties, it was in America's national interest to continue dealing with Moscow on many issues, one of which is Iran's nuclear program, said State Department spokesman Robert Wood.

"It has affected the relationship. There is no doubt," he said. "But we will continue to work with Russia."

Moscow's military action in Georgia followed years of bellicose statements and promises by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and other officials to rebuild Russia's military might.

The conflict has renewed concerns that a nationalist Russia, strengthened by oil revenues, will seek to directly influence states in the formerly Soviet sphere.

The impact on U.S. influence in the region is uncertain but experts say the United States cannot ignore Russia's wealth and strategic influence.

Washington's lack of leverage with Moscow was underscored by Europe's lead role in mediating. France's President Nicolas Sarkozy took a lead role and was in Moscow on Tuesday as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced a halt to military operations in Georgia.

The Bush administration grappled with how to respond, delayed sending an envoy for days and relied on key staff who were on vacation, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a Russia specialist.

Washington's close ties with Georgia, which Bush has hailed as a beacon of democracy, meant the rest of the world did not see the United States as an honest broker in the conflict.

Some Russia experts believe the United States dropped the ball by putting too much faith in Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. Not enough was done to restrain his actions in South Ossetia, which triggered the crisis.

"We thought Saakashvili was going to be a nice prudent democrat and failed to look at the signs. We talk ourselves into these things," said Robert Hunter, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO now with RAND Organization.

Not enough attention was paid to intelligence which showed a build-up of Russian military hardware and troops in the region before the invasion, said Hunter.

The State Department's Wood rejected such suggestions. "I don't think there was a failure of intelligence or U.S. policy here," he said. "We have been working the diplomatic track on this and the Russians clearly over-reacted. This was plain and simple, blatant aggression on the part of Russia."

Copyright © 2008 Reuters


Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Tuesday August 12, 2008 MYT 8:55:37 AM

150 Umno members join PKR


PETALING JAYA: Two former leaders of the Bandar Tun Razak Umno division led 148 members to cross over to PKR.

Norasida Silam, who was the deputy chairman of the division, and Azmi Hassan, a former deputy chairman, handed over application forms to Bandar Tun Razak MP Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, who is also Selangor Mentri Besar, at the division's PKR office on Monday.

“Norasida wanted to join us because he said he could no longer tolerate the non-existence of democracy practice in Umno, for instance the quota system for party elections,” said Bandar Tun Razak PKR deputy chief Othman Karim.

“He said ... he prefers to work for the people, not only for the Malays,” said Othman.


Monday, August 11, 2008


Monday August 11, 2008

Help teach the public to fill petrol tanks

BATU PAHAT: Petrol kiosk operators here want the Government to educate vehicle owners on the self-service system.

They said they were willing to implement the self-service ruling but it was not easy when customers demanded attendants to help fill petrol tanks.

Owner Ahmad Sampur said some customers insisted on attendants pumping the petrol.

“A few days ago, a customer ordered my cleaner to do the job,” he said during a dialogue between the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry district office and about 40 petrol kiosk owners recently.

Ahmad, who has been in the business for 24 years, said that most customers found the self-service system troublesome as they did not know how to operate a pump.

“The Government has to educate the public so that they will accept the system,” he said.

When contacted, a ministry spokesman said they understood the hardships of the businessmen.

She said that many customers did not know the self-service system had started and only Petronas displayed notices at the pumps.

“Other kiosks display the notices only at payment counters and customers are not aware of the system,” she said.



unday August 10, 2008 MYT 8:16:09 PM

Syabu theft: Cop found dead (updated)


JOHOR BARU: A 40-year-old policeman who was being investigated for the RM1mil syabu theft from the state police headquarters was found dead at an oil palm plantation.

The body of L/kpl Morne Aliamat, from the state Narcotics unit, was discovered at the plantation in Setia Indah at about 11.40am here on Sunday.

Police also recovered a semi-automatic pistol, a bullet casing and a motorcycle owned by Morne.

Johor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff classified the case under Sudden Death.

“We discovered a gunshot wound on the right side of the victim’s head.

“We have to wait for the post-mortem results to discover whether it was suicide or otherwise,” he told pressmen at the state police headquarters here.

He confirmed that the victim was being investigated for the syabu theft and his statement had been recorded.

DCP Mohd Mokhtar said the victim went missing on Thursday and his wife had lodged a missing persons report at Tampoi police station on Saturday.

“He joined the police force on Jan 17, 1990 and has been attached to the Johor Narcotics unit since March 16 last year," he said.

Meanwhile, on the syabu theft case, DCP Mohd Mokhtar said police had released the two other suspects, both aged 21, on police bail and rearrested them under Section 3(1) of the Special Preventive Laws.

“Both men are acting Corporals and they joined the police force two years ago,” he said.

He added that the first suspect, who was released on police bail and rearrested under the same law on Friday, was a 34-year-old lance-corporal who joined the force in 1995.

DCP Mohd Mokhtar said the task force assigned to the case was working around the clock to catch the culprits and solve the case.

“I like to make it clear that there is no cover-up.

“We will catch those responsible,” he said.


Saturday, August 9, 2008


Olympic Games party set for "big bang" start

BEIJING (Aug 8, 2008) :

China celebrates its ancient past and modern power when the Olympics open tonight, looking to put criticism behind it as world leaders arrived in Beijing.

The opening ceremony is the culmination of seven years of hard work that re-shaped the capital, and sets the seal on a sustained economic boom that has seen China emerge as a new superpower.

It all kicks off at 8pm tonight -- the eighth day of the eighth month -- a number whcih symbolises fortune to Chinese -- before an estimated global audience of one billion.

Displaying its new economic clout, China has invested US$43 billion on the Games.

Some US$100 million, twice the 2004 Athens bill, has gone on "big bang" opening and closing ceremonies.

Some 15,000 performers and 29,000 fireworks will give the Games a sparkling start. Film director Zhang Yimou was tasked with condensing 5,000 years of Chinese history into one show.

"It's a historic combination of a great country with a great sport event," the People's Daily said.

Guests in the head-turning Bird's Nest Olympic stadium will include US President George W. Bush, who despite saying he was coming for sport not politics, gave a speech in Bangkok en route voicing "firm opposition" to China's detention of dissidents.

The elements too, have proved stubbornly hard to master. Although authorities have closed factories and pulled millions of cars off the road, but smog and haze enveloped the capital this morning -- obscuring views of the futuristic skyline.

In fact, the opening ceremony has been ensnared in politics from the outset: Hollywood director Steven Spielberg quit as an adviser earlier this year to protest against China's ties with Sudan.

The best-known face of Chinese sport, 7ft 6in NBA basketball player Yao Ming, will lead his team at the opening ceremony.

But in a move that could embarrass both China and Sudan, US athletes chose former Sudanese refugee Lopez Lomong, a victim of government-sponsored Arab militias in the south who fled at the age of six in 1991, to carry their flag around the track.

China is a major oil investor and arms seller in Sudan, and global campaigners blame it for failing to pressure Khartoum to end the conflict in its western region of Darfur.

Unfortunately for the Olympic ideal of global harmony, the two Koreas failed to agree to march at the opening as a unified team even though they managed that in 2004 and 2000.

The finer points of global geo-politics are unlikely, however, to dampen the enthusiasm of many Chinese.

"My heart is bursting with excitement about the Games," said Zhu Shegqiang, a 22-year-old student walking through Tiananmen Square. "I want people to see what is special about China."

Meanwhile, with hours to go, some foreign activists have issued an on-air challenge to the host city with a pirate broadcast, calling for freeing of political prisoners and lifting of censorship.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said China's attempts to control the media "would never succeed". Their words were often drowned out by a local official broadcast.

Small groups of foreign protesters have also popped up in Beijing this week, but have been whisked off quickly by police forming part of a 100,000-strong security force.

Meanwhile, suspected Islamist separatists killed 16 policemen in western China on Monday, and yesterday a little-known Islamist group issued an Internet threat to the Games.

A video dated Aug 1 carried pictures of the Beijing Olympics logo in flames and a speaker holding an AK-47 assault rifle and wearing a face mask, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, a US - based firm that monitor statements from militants.

In Hong Kong, a lone protester unfurled banners on the largest suspension bridge on Friday calling for human rights. -- REUTERS

Friday, August 8, 2008


Doctor: No sign of sodomy

August 07, 2008 Categories: News

THE doctor who examined Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s accuser has reportedly proclaimed in a statutory declaration (SD) that he did not find any evidence that Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan had been sodomised.

In his statutory declaration posted on blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s website Malaysia Today, Dr Mohamed Osman Abdul Hamid says he stands “firm by my findings” that he found no evidence of Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan being sodomised.

The portal also posted a medical report purportedly prepared by Dr Osman for his employer, Pusat Rawatan Islam (Pusrawi) medical centre, in which he had listed the chronology of Saiful’s visit to the centre on June 28.

The report states Saiful went to Pusrawi’s Emergency Department at 2.14pm that day and was sent to Dr Osman by an assistant called Hidayah.

The report, dated June 30, claims Saiful had complained he could not even sit down because of “pain in the anus for two days”.

It says that assisted by a nurse, Yazihan Yusof, Dr Osman examined Saiful’s anus and found it to be “normal”, that there was no sign of bleeding, piles, abcess, pus, injury, tear or discharge; that Saiful’s “anus was clean, dry and looked normal” and that “no abnormalities (were) seen”.

The report claims Saiful told Dr Osman that he had been sodomised by a VIP and wanted to report to the police, despite the doctor’s confirmation that he found no evidence of sodomy.

“I advised him to go and see a doctor at any government hospital because, according to his complaint, it was a criminal case,” the report says. “After that, he left the hospital. I didn’t prescribe any medication and didn’t gave (give) any referral letter.”

The posting of Dr Osman’s report was followed with the posting of his statutory declaration, purportedly signed before Commissioner of Oaths Mohd Annuar Mohd Salleh, on Aug 1.

In it, Dr Osman says he recorded his findings in Pusrawi’s standard medical examination folder.

“I later learned that the medical examination folder was widely circulated in the media and Internet, and I was shocked and surprised to find out that the exact medical examination folder, with its exact content, without amendment or addition, found its way to the media,” the posting says.

The statutory declaration also says Dr Osman was only aware that the medical report had been circulated after he went on leave.

The posting also says Dr Osman was visited by an officer from the Brickfields police station in July.

Dr Osman said he was asked to sign and stamp all “nine to 10 pages” of his statement to police, which the officer prepared in Bahasa Malaysia.

The posting says the officer returned a week later with a typed statement and asked Dr Osman to sign it.

“I read a few paragraphs and made a few amendments to the statement with the officer’s assistance,” the doctor says.

He also queried why Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s name had appeared in the statement when it was never brought up in the first interview.

He said he pointed out that Saiful had not named the alleged perpetrator. The officer, the posting says, then told Dr Osman that Anwar was the accused, and that he signed the typed statement because he did not want to have “any issues with the police”.

Dr Osman also claims that a female officer from the Jalan Hang Tuah police station visited him a week later to take another statement in Bahasa Malaysia, and that the officer had translated it into English before asking him to sign on it.

From the onset, he says, the officer told him he would be “charged” if he did not co-operate with the police.

Dr Osman also says in the statutory declaration that he decided to apply for leave after this, out of fear for his and his family’s safety. He is said to have left the country.


Thursday, August 7, 2008


Thursday August 7, 2008

Anwar to be charged with sodomy

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be charged today with sodomy and the legal battle will have serious implications on his comeback bid in the Permatang Pauh by-election, which he engineered by getting his wife to resign the seat.

Nomination Day is set for Aug 16 and polling day 10 days after that, but the question now is whether the PKR adviser will be on hand to personally campaign or will he be locked up as a sodomy is a non-bailable offence.

Reacting to the Election Commission announcements on the date and the authorities’ decision to charge him, Anwar accused the Government of conspiracy to fix him to prevent him from making a political comeback.

He even held Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi personally responsible. Anwar cited the timing of the EC’s announcement and when the police served him with the notice that he is to be charged for sexually assaulting his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari.

Brickfields CID chief Asst Supt Jude Pereira was at the PKR de facto leader's house in Bukit Segambut at about 12.15pm, five minutes after the EC issued its statement.

However, Abdullah denied Anwar’s claims, and stressed that he had reminded police not to charge Anwar if they did not have enough evidence.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Wednesday August 6, 2008

Actress appeals to husband to settle debts with loan sharks

KUALA LUMPUR: Actress Wan Nor Azlin Wan Mohd Husain, who has been targeted by loan sharks after her husband allegedly failed to repay a loan, is appealing for him to return and be responsible for his actions.

“Only my husband knows who he borrowed the money from. I want him to come back and face his problems and not run away from it,” she said yesterday at a press conference organised by the MCA Public Services and Complaints Department.

She also feared for her family’s safety and asked her husband to cooperate with the police to settle the matter.

“I fear for the safety of my children. They are very young. It is not fair for you to just leave me to take care of them,” she said in her plea for her husband to return.

Wan Nor Azlin also apologised to the moneylenders for not being able to repay the loans.

The 40-year old won the Seri Angkasa Award for best drama actress for her role in Takbir Untuk Abdah in 2001 and had starred in more than 200 drama and theatre productions.

She also appealed to them to stop harassing her family because she did not have details of her husband’s debts.

Wan Nor Azlin added moneylenders had continuously harassed her famiy since her husband went missing on July 10.

This included having offensive posters pasted on the gates of her house with the most recent being paint poured on her car and house on July 30.

“My husband did not answer my calls that night but he sent me an SMS to just text him if anything happened,” she said.

She believes her husband has gone into hiding because of the threats and has been unable to contact him since.

“Don’t threaten him. Give him a chance to go to work and earn the money to settle the debts,” she said. “My family is effected too as I am not working right now and I depend on my husband’s income.”

Department head Datuk Michael Chong said it is believed the husband had borrowed some RM200,000 from about 30 Ah Long since last year.

“But no one knows the exact amount that he owes and who he owes it to,” he said.

Malaysian Artistes Association Freddie Fernandez was also present and said the association would help Wan Nor Azlin find employment.



Thais clean up for Bush visit
July 31, 2008 Categories: Asean+

BANGKOK: Asis Times Online reported that as a clean-up measure ahead of US President George W. Bush’s visit to Thailand next week, pirated DVDs, fake Swiss watches and imitation designer garments are fast disappearing in a red-light strip in Bangkok, which is a popular destination with bargain-hunters and others.

The two-day visit by Bush is part of his final Asian tour as chief executive.

Last week, Thai police launched a crackdown to rid Patpong of vendors who line the streets in the evening with their fake goods, shouting out bargains for pirated versions of Hollywood films such as Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada. Another part of this sprawling city, the backpacker areas around Khao San Road, saw similar raids.

The news report said the police effort highlights simmering US-Thai trade tensions, which have recently come to a head over Bangkok’s moves to produce generic versions of US patent-protected pharmaceutical drugs.

It added that Washington recently downgraded Thailand onto its “priority watch list” of countries that habitually violate intellectual property rights.



Wednesday August 6, 2008

Azizah says sorry to pixman

GEORGE TOWN: PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has apologised to a Guang Ming Daily photographer who was allegedly assaulted by a group of party supporters on Sunday.

Loh Huay Hoon, 25, said she received a call from Dr Wan Azizah at 11.40am yesterday.

“Wan Azizah said she was shocked to see a picture of me being attacked by a group of men in the newspapers,” she said.

Loh lodged a police report on Monday, saying she was kicked, choked and hit on the head by some of the men in the group.

The men had tailed her to the car park after a ceramah by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the Seberang Jaya Expo site.

“Wan Azizah said looking at the picture, she would also be afraid because the man was so huge.

“She apologised profusely many times and said PKR would conduct an internal investigation on the matter,” said Loh.

Dr Wan Azizah, she added, explained that the security personnel were jittery about security that night as somebody had found a bullet at the expo site.

“She said Anwar was also angry with the security personnel because they were strict with the crowd when the people tried to shake hands with him,” said Loh.

Loh believed she was attacked after an exchange of words with security personnel who tried to stop her from moving closer to snap pictures of Anwar.

She said the conversation lasted about five minutes and she accepted Dr Wan Azizah’s apology.

Meanwhile, Central Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Dr Mohd Shah Hussin Shah said police were trying to identify the men who allegedly attacked Loh, based on a press photograph and would interview the person who took the picture.

Penang Gerakan condemned the attack and called for a thorough police investigation into the incident while Guang Ming Daily said it might take legal action against the attacker.

Penang PKR secretary Abdul Malik Abul Kassim said the party’s preliminary investigation found that the attackers were not part the usual group of security personnel.

He said one of the attackers was not among those who attended a briefing for security on Sunday before the ceramah.

“We do not deny that he was wearing a PKR uniform but that does not make him a security official,” he said, adding that the person could have been planted.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Battle of Permatang Pauh begins…

by Bernard Cheah and Karen Arukesamy

SEBERANG PERAI (Aug 4, 2008)
: A 25-year-old female press photographer was roughed up by some PKR officials while attempting to take pictures of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at a ceramah here on last night.

Loh Hoay Hoon of Guang Ming Daily was punched, kicked and held by the neck in the event at the Seberang Jaya expo grounds here.

An ugly scuffle breaks out between PKR youths at
Anwar's ceramah after a group of PKR youths attacked a
Chinese media
photographer. Sunpix by Masry Che Ani.

"I was bewildered and confused," Loh told theSun today.

"All I was doing was taking some shots of Anwar before he left the grounds. I don’t understand why they had attack me like this," she said, choking with tears and still visibly traumatised.

Loh received outpatient treatment at the Seberang Jaya Hospital later, before lodging a report at the Seberang Jaya police station at about 3.15am.

She was taken to the hospital again for an additional check-up late this afternoon.

Loh said afterr the ceramah had ended, she wanted a few shots of Anwar getting into his car.

However, an unidentified man, believed to be an Anwar bodyguard, stopped Loh and pushed her aside, she said.

"I told the man ‘saya hanya buat kerja saya’ (I'm just doing my work)," she said.

She remembered hearing something like "Jangan kacau, jangan buat susah di sini." (Don't disturb, don't cause trouble here.)

Then she found herself being hit and held by the neck by the man and several others, as she was leaving the grounds.

A few other PKR members then tried to hold back the man, apparently to restrain him.

A scuffle then broke out, as the group that attacked Loh and the one that helped her shoved each other and traded insults.

Loh said she was also hit on the back of her head by an unknown assailant.

She said she had had an untoward incident with the same man earlier this year, and had complained to PKR state secretary Abdul Malek Abul Kassim.

"Some reporters have also been pushed by the same individual."

Penang Media Club acting president Zuraida Abdul Rahman condemned the incident.

"All we want to do is just report what happens at a ceramah as it is."

Abdul Malek expressed regret over the behaviour of the official, adding that stern action would be taken by the party to prevent a recurrence.

He explained that security had to be beefed up as there were death threats made against Anwar.

Most party officials who act as guards were PKR members and not trained professionals, he added.

"We really appreciate the job done by members of the media in giving us coverage," he stressed

National Union of Journalists (NUJ) president Norila Mohd Daud also condemned the Seberang Perai incident, saying that some members of PKR had become over-protective of Anwar and nobody knows "what is their reason or what is the stand of the party."

On July 15, during the televised debate between Anwar and Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, three photographers were roughed up by security personnel hired by AgendaDaily, the organiser of the debate.

Police reports were lodged, but there has been no response from the police.

TheEdge executive producer Othman Abu Bakar, whose photographer was one of those assaulted, said so far they had been questioned by police on what happened. He wants the police to look into the matter.


Monday, August 4, 2008


Report me for oral sex, Soi Lek challenges adversaries

FORMER MCA vice-president Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek, who quit all party and government posts in January because of a sex DVD, has challenged his adversaries to lodge police reports against him over oral sex performed in the video.

Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek

Chua made the challenge in an interview with Oriental Daily News published today, saying he was prepared to face the consequences, to prove that the DVD is a political conspiracy and to nab the people behind the filming of the video.

"They said oral sex is a crime, I hope they will go to the police, really!" said Chua who believes that if someone lodges a report, the police will have to trace the original DVD and the persons responsible for it, like the investigations into the Lingam video tape.

He also believes he will be vindicated when the persons and motives behind the filming of the DVD are revealed.

Chua, who won the Batu Pahat MCA division chief post without a fight last month, said: "The moment I declare my candidacy for a higher post, I am sure someone will lodge a (oral sex) report against me.

They have already warned me against contesting. I said they can go ahead and report me to the police."

"This shows that it (sex DVD) is a political conspiracy, an (MCA) internal conspiracy as they (political opponents) are very 'concerned' about my personal problems and conduct.

Asked if he is not afraid that he would be charged with oral sex, a crime punishable under section 377B of the Penal Code which provides for a sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment and whipping, and barred from contesting the central elections, Chua said he was ready to face the consequences.

"I will have the courage to face it," he said, adding that his political adversaries are resorting to all means to destroy him.

"You did not ask who is the mastermind behind this. Make a guess, who will benefit from all these? I am 90% sure of who did it (the sex DVD), except I lack the evidence."

"I encourage them to lodge police reports. People have seen all of me, what is there to be afraid of? I only want to tell MCA, the elections have become a slugfest," he said, adding that he does not want to see the party becoming a stage for mudslinging, with leaders being attacked for their personal conducts.

"I am a politician, I leave it to the members to decide my (political) destiny. I know that when I declare my intention to contest party posts, others will use the DVD against me.

"No one is perfect. Every leader has some kind of scandals except they are not exposed and debated in the open.

"Some say your scandal is your personal problem, and what is important is you are not corrupt and have not abused your power."

He said he understands that there are two schools of thought in the party regarding the issue.

"One is that I should be evaluated on performance, and regard my conduct as something personal. As long as my family accepts me, no one else should interfere. The other deems my private life more important than my performance."

Chua who admitted that the sex DVD has affected him to a certain degree, says he has two options:

> wallow in self pity and bitterness; or

> continue to use his experience and optimise his strength to do what he has been doing for the last 23 years; serve the party and the community.

The former Health Minister said following the incident, he did what he had to do as a responsible leader, and now wants to move forward.

He added that a poll conducted on Labis voters showed that 60% of them believed that the sex DVD is a personal problem and should not affect the public's assessment of his ability.

Chua said his comeback bid was not aimed at "taking revenge" at anyone but to let party members judge him.

"I believe MCA central delegates have the wisdom to pick the right leaders and will not allow a leader to be run down by the action of certain despicable people," he added.


Sunday, August 3, 2008


Sunday August 3, 2008

Iran vows no nuclear retreat on day of deadline

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives at the presidential office to attend a welcoming ceremony for his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in Tehran August 2, 2008. (REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will not retreat "one iota" from its nuclear rights, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday, the day of an informal deadline set by Western officials in a row over Tehran's atomic ambitions.

Ahmadinejad made the remark in a statement posted on the presidential website after talks in Tehran with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Copyright © 2008 Reuters


Saiful's three trips with Anwar
By : Irdiani Mohd Salleh


Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan has claimed that he accompanied Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on three overseas trips this year.

In his blog posting on Friday, the 23-year-old revealed that he accompanied Anwar to Hong Kong in early May, Bangkok at the end of May and to Singapore from June 16-18.

It was among his duties as a "coffee boy".

Mohd Saiful had filed a police report on June 28, claiming he had been sodomised by Anwar.

In his posting at entitled "Tasks as a former 'coffee boy' to Anwar", he said that his duties also included assisting PKR staff chief Ibrahim Yaacob in arranging Anwar's schedule and working out secret meetings, for example, with members of parliament who wanted to cross over to PKR. These were held in the Desa Damansara condominium.

He claimed that the unit was owned by a Pas branch member or leader.

"The rest will be revealed in court later. Please be patient.

"It is up to you whether you believe me or not or ask Anwar to explain all this himself whether it is true or not."

He added, as promised, he would swear in due time as he was informed that the investigation into the case had been completed.

"I pray the Attorney-General's Chambers will take up this case because I want justice," he wrote at 2.29pm.

Mohd Saiful also wished Anwar good luck in the Permatang Pauh by-election.

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note: Give me your comment for this articles..... tq

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Fuel stock concern for dealers
By : R.S. Kamini and Kristina George

KUALA LUMPUR: The Petroleum Dealers' Association of Malaysia wants the government to implement a standard system to measure fuel stock at all pumps.

Association president Abdul Wahid Bidin said if the retail price was to be fixed at the beginning of each month, it would be difficult for dealers to gauge the monthly stock needed to maintain a profit.

He said if the retail price of petrol was to fall to RM2.20 per litre, operators carrying a 100,000 litre stock could lose up to RM50,000.

"How are they going to control the stock? Some of us still measure our stocks manually before informing the oil companies to replenish it," he said, adding only a few stations had an online monitoring system to check fuel stock.

He said dealers and operators should be reimbursed for losses if the government did not place a proper gauging system.
The association also touched on the implementation of the self-service system (SSS), which it said would lead to less competition.

Abdul Wahid said at present some station owners were burdened by the cost of "idle" pump attendants. But he urged a delay in its implementation unless the government could reassure them that oil companies would not manipulate the ruling to their benefit.

"Some companies might try now to 'modify' the ruling, saying that the rule only states no filling customers vehicle tanks with petrol and that it does not include window washing or other services."

In June, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad announced the implementation of the SSS nationwide from yesterday.

The minister said all customers, excluding those who were aged, disabled or pregnant, would be required to fill their own tanks.

The ruling applies to all petrol stations nationwide, except small, unbranded ones in rural areas.

The number allowed in the forecourt area will also be limited to one for stations with four islands or fewer, two at stations with five to six islands and three at stations with more than seven islands.



Friday, August 1, 2008


Thursday July 31, 2008 MYT 8:28:26 PM

PM: Govt may lower fuel prices


The Government is considering lowering retail fuel prices, in line with falling global crude oil prices, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.

He said the Cabinet discussed the possibility on Wednesday, a day after crude oil slipped to US$122.19 (RM402) a barrel.
Petrol prices were raised by 41% and diesel by 63% in early June to curb a runaway subsidy bill when crude prices were hovering around US$140 (RM460.60) a barrel.

“We are looking at it very, very carefully. Of course I would be so happy if we can reduce it,'' the Prime Minister told AP in an interview here Thursday.

But he said the Government was wary of lowering prices at the pump just to have to hike them when oil markets rose again, Abdullah said.
Crude has fallen over the last three weeks from a record high of US$147.27 per barrel on July 11, in part, on expectations that the spike in prices over the last year has begun to dampen demand by the United States for petrol.

But the slide has since halted and sweet crude for September delivery was holding steady at US$126.81 (RM417.20) per barrel Thursday in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Abdullah said the Government was conducting a study to find out if retail fuel prices can be brought down and would announce a decision “at an appropriate time.''

He acknowledged that rising inflation was weighing heavily on the Government by handing the Opposition a way to criticise its economic policies.
“This has been regarded as a weakness of the Government today for allowing prices to go up. I am upset also myself. We are paying more than before. It is a burden to us,'' he said, adding that the Government was taking steps to reduce inflation.

Abdullah said the Government was making efforts to boost income levels of the poor as well as improve transport services and seek cheaper sources of power.

Bank Negara has raised projections for average inflation for this year to between 5.5% and 6% from 4.2%.
Also, the Government announced last week that consumer prices spiked by 7.7% in June compared with the same month last year. It was the steepest climb in 27 years, spurred by higher gasoline prices.



Thursday July 31, 2008 MYT 5:12:01 PM

Wan Azizah quits, Anwar to contest



Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has resigned as Permatang Pauh Member of Parliament to make way for her husband Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to contest in a by-election.

At a packed press conference at the party headquarters on Thursday, Dr Wan Azizah said the decision was made after deliberations with her family, the PKR leadership and its partners in the Pakatan Rakyat loose coalition of Opposition parties.

"I have officially submitted my resignation as MP to the Parliament Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, to make way for my husband, Anwar Ibrahim, to contest as a candidate for Pakatan Rakyat in a by-election as soon as possible," she said.

Dr Wan Azizah, who showed no emotion during the press conference, said it was the right decision for Malaysia and that she would continue serving as PKR president and chairman of the Peace Foundation.
Together with her were PKR vice-presidents Azmin Ali and R. Sivarasa, her daughter and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, and Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai.
Dr Wan Azizah also thanked her supporters in Permatang Pauh who had stood by her in the most difficult of times.

"Anwar Ibrahim has the experience and intelligence to reinvigorate our economy, and the charisma and integrity to unite Malaysians.
"And I'm not saying this just because he is my husband," she added.

As to who would be taking over as the Opposition leader in Parliament, Dr Wan Azizah said that would be discussed with other Pakatan Rakyat leaders.
Anwar, under a police investigation for allegedly sodomising a former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23, had previously said he would contest in the Kulim-Bandar Baharu parliamentary constituency, where an election petition is pending.

The case is scheduled for hearing on Aug 19.
On Thursday, Anwar said he had decided to contest in Pematang Pauh instead because the Kulim petition might take too long to settle.

He had previously said that he would have the numbers to form the government by Sept 16, and said the sodomy allegation was a part of a conspiracy to stop him from doing so.

He has denied the sodomy allegations and has filed a defamation suit against Mohd Saiful.
The Election Commission is required under the law to call for a by-election within 60 days.
Its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the Commission would start preparing for the by-election upon receiving notice from the Speaker.

Also on Thursday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar announced that the police had wrapped up their investigations into the sodomy case, and have sent their report to the Attorney-General's Chambers for further action.

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